A-Z of Shakespeare – U

Today’s Shakespearean word of the day is… urchin

U- urchin

Warning! Don’t read in the meaning of ‘a poorly dressed boy’.

An urchin is a spirit in the form of a hedgehog! In The Tempest, Prospero threatens Caliban: ‘Urchins / Shall, for that vast of night that they may work, / All exercise on thee’ (The Tempest, 2.2.5).

As you might expect, a spirit apparition in the form of a hedgehog is called an urchin-show.


Shakespeare Dictionary _130This definition is taken from the Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary, a unique dictionary to unlock the mysteries of Shakespeare’s world, words and language, compiled by renowned English language expert David Crystal and Shakespearean actor and producer Ben Crystal.