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Definition: Porcupine crab
, n. [OE. porkepyn, porpentine, OF.
porc-espi, F. porc-['e]pic (cf. It. porco spino, porco
spinoso, Sp. puerco espino, puerco espin, fr. L. porcus swine
+ spina thorn, spine). The last part of the French word is
perhaps a corruption from the It. or Sp.; cf. F. ['e]pi ear,
a spike of grain, L. spica. See Pork
a large nail,
1. (Zo["o]l.) Any Old Word rodent of the genus Hystrix
having the back covered with long, sharp, erectile spines
or quills, sometimes a foot long. The common species of
Europe and Asia (Hystrix cristata
) is the best known.
2. (Zo["o]l.) Any species of Erethizon
and related genera,
native of America. They are related to the true
porcupines, but have shorter spines, and are arboreal in
their habits. The Canada porcupine (Erethizon dorsatus
is a well known species.
(Zo["o]l.), the echidna.
(Zo["o]l.), a large spiny Japanese crab
(Med.). See Ichthyosis
(Zo["o]l.), any plectognath fish having the
body covered with spines which become erect when the body
is inflated. See Diodon
, and Globefish
(Bot.), a grass (Stipa spartea
grains bearing a stout twisted awn, which, by coiling and
uncoiling through changes in moisture, propels the
sharp-pointed and barbellate grain into the wool and flesh
of sheep. It is found from Illinois westward. See
Illustration in Appendix.
(Bot.), the hard outer wood of the cocoa
palm; -- so called because, when cut horizontally, the
markings of the wood resemble the quills of a porcupine.