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[ih-kahy-nuh s] /ɪˈkaɪ nəs/
noun, plural echini
[ih-kahy-nahy] /ɪˈkaɪ naɪ/ (Show IPA)
any sea urchin of the genus Echinus.
  1. an ovolo molding, especially one having an outline with several radii or one carved with an egg-and-dart pattern.
  2. the prominent circular molding supporting the abacus of a Doric or Tuscan capital.
  3. Also called cymatium. the circular molding, usually carved with an egg-and-dart pattern, forming part of an Ionic capital between the volutes and under the balteus.
Origin of echinus
1325-75; Middle English < Latin < Greek echînos hedgehog, sea urchin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for echini
Historical Examples
  • In the same stone the claws of crabs, fragments of echini, and other signs of a neighbouring beach are observed.

  • Also, batoons of St. Paul, the fossil spines of echini, found in Malta and elsewhere.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • The sea-urchins or echini, so abundant in white chalk, afford a good illustration.

British Dictionary definitions for echini


noun (pl) -ni (-naɪ)
(architect) an ovolo moulding between the shaft and the abacus of a Doric column
any of the sea urchins of the genus Echinus, such as E. esculentus (edible sea urchin) of the Mediterranean
Word Origin
C14: from Latin, from Greek ekhinos
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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