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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).

HURCHEON, n. Also †hurtcheon, hurchin (Bwk., Dmf., Rxb. 1942); hurchint (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); hutchon (Dmb. 1874 in D. Macleod Poets and Poetry of the Lennox 147); erchin (Fif. 1825 Jam., Fif.10 1943). [Sc. ′hʌrtʃən(t); Abd., Fif. ′ɛrtʃm]

1. A hedgehog (Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 249; m.Sc. 1957). Also in n.Eng. dial.Ayr. 1790 Burns Elegy Capt. Henderson i.:
The meikle Devil wi' a woodie Haurl thee hame to his black smiddie O'er hurcheon hides.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems II. 91:
But, train'd to labour, look'd right fat on A hurchin, weasel, mouse, or ratton.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality vii.:
To lie up here amang the blankets like a hurcheon.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 56:
The erchins whiddit hyne awa', The hairy-oubits hid frae view.
Ags. 1897 A. Reid Bards of Ags. 134:
His hair rose like a hurchin's back.
Dmf. 1920 D. J. Bell-Irving Tally-Ho 109:
I wad clap the dogs on the crater, and worry him like a hurchin!

2. Fig. An unkempt, slovenly, uncouth person. Also attrib. Occas. applied to a mischievous child.Sc. 1733 Orpheus Caledonius I. 55:
Sick'na silly Hurtcheon shall ne'er skelp my Doup.
Sc. 1795 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 670:
The little one is the most striking likeness of an ill-deedie, damn'd, wee, rumble-gairie hurchin of mine.
Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems (1876) 34:
I think, thro life I'll mak a canny fen Wi hurcheon Nancy o the Hazel-glen.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett L. Sunbonnet vi.:
It was auld Sim o' Glower-ower-'em, the wizened auld hurcheon.

[O.Sc. hurcheoun, a hedgehog, from c.1500; N.Mid.Eng. hurchon, c.1425; O.North.Fr. herichon. The form without h has always been the prevalent form in Eng.]

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"Hurcheon n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 May 2022 <>



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