1834, from Modern Latin Echinodermata, name of the phylum that includes starfish and sea urchins, from Latinized form of Greek ekhinos "sea urchin," originally "porcupine, hedgehog" (see echidna) + derma (genitive dermatos) "skin," from PIE root *der- "to split, flay, peel," with derivatives referring to skin and leather. So called from its spiky shell. Related: Echinodermal.
updated on May 24, 2017
Dictionary entries near echinoderm