Word of the Day


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a small wild animal with a round body covered with sharp spines for protection

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

Hedgehog is a compound noun formed from the nouns ‘hedge’ and ‘hog’: the former because of the creature’s preferred habitat and the latter because of the resemblance of its snout to that of a pig. Hedgehog was first used in English in the 15th century and took a variety of forms, including ‘hegge hogge’, ‘hedghogge’ and ‘ hedghogge’ before settling in its current form.


This is Hedgehog Awareness Week, designed to raise awareness of the decline in hedgehog numbers and encourage people to take measures to help them thrive. No one knows for sure how many hedgehogs there are in the UK; what is undisputed is that their numbers have fallen dramatically over recent decades. The reasons for the decline include habitat loss both in towns and in the countryside. Tidy gardens surrounded by hedges and fences are anathema to hedgehogs, who like to range over fairly wide areas, and need abundant invertebrates to survive. The most famous literary hedgehog is undoubtedly Beatrix Potter’s Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, the washerwoman who lives in a little cottage and was named after the author’s own pet hedgehog. The game character Sonic the Hedgehog is probably better known worldwide, however.


“The Foxe knowes many pretty wiles, but the hedghogge knowes one great one.”
(Bishop Joseph Hall)

Related words

badger, fox, squirrel, vole

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary


  • Dear sirs, would you please answer my question. My question is as follows: can it be possible in response of “ I love you” an individual answer “me too”? Because I know the exact answer is “you too” ,then, why do some people say “me too” instead of “you too”? Me personally have heard in a couple of Americans films “me too” and “you too”. I know that grammatically “you too” is right. Do you think native speakers have a priority over grammar? Best regards

  • Hello Assad, thanks for your query. I’m afraid the dialogue writers are right and you’re wrong: what the person responding is saying is ‘I feel the same way’; so the underlying exchange is ‘I love you,’ ‘I love you too’. But instead of repeating the verb, the 2nd person says ‘Me too’. If you think of another different but similar situation, the same applies: ‘I want an ice cream’ ‘Me too’. The second person is saying ‘I also want an ice cream’ but in an informal, and therefore more natural way. Some people will tell you that ‘me’ is incorrect here, but it is perfectly OK in all but the most formal English, as is explained at the Macmillan Dictionary entry for me. So it’s not that native speakers have priority over grammar; it’s that different uses of the language are appropriate in different circumstances, and in this case ‘Me too’ is a perfectly appropriate response.

  • Dear sir, thank you so much for your answer. I am a little confused about your answer. I am going to know whether I can use “me too” in response of “ I love you” or “nice to meet you”? I know as you mentioned the best answer is “ I love you too” or “nice to meet you too” but I would like to know if I can use “me too” or I must only use “you too”? In which situation I can use “me too”. Would you mind replying it? Truly yours Assad

  • Hi again Assad. You can say ‘me too’ in response to ‘I love you’, but the correct response to ‘Nice to meet you’ is ‘You too’. The structures are different: You could unpack ‘Nice to meet you’ into ‘It’s nice (for me) to meet you’ and the reply would be ‘It’s nice (for me) to meet you too’. So the answer could be ‘Nice to meet you too’ or just ‘You too’. There’s no subject ‘I’ (as in the first phrase) to be converted to the (informal) ‘me’ in ‘Me too’.

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