was a Scottish writer and translator, most famous for his translation of Rabelais.
Urquhart was born to an old landholding family in Cromarty in northern Scotland. At the age of eleven he attended King's College, University of Aberdeen. Afterwards he toured the Continent, returning in 1636. In 1639, he participated in the Royalist uprising known as the Trot of Turriff; he was knighted by Charles I at Whitehall for his support. In 1641 he published his first book, a volume of epigrams.
Urquhart's father died in 1642, leaving behind a large estate encumbered by larger debts. As the eldest son, Urquhart was from that time on harassed by creditors. He left for the Continent in order to economize, but returned in 1645 and published Trissotetras, a mathematical treatise.
In 1648, Urquhart participated in the Royalist uprising at Inverness. He was declared a traitor by Parliament, though he doesn't seem to have suffered any other consequences. Two years later he marched with Charles II and fought in the Battle of Worcester. The Royalist forces were decisively defeated and Urquhart was taken prisoner. He lost all his manuscripts, which he had brought with him for safekeeping, and he had to forfeit all his property. He was held first at the Tower of London and later at Windsor, but he was given considerable freedom by his captors. The following year he published Pantochronachanon, a work of genealogy, and The Jewel, a defense of Scotland. In 1652, he was paroled by Cromwell and returned to Cromarty. Soon after he published Logopandecteision, his plan for a universal language, and his most celebrated work, his translation of Rabelais.
Urquhart returned to the Continent some time after 1653, perhaps as a condition of his release by Cromwell. Little is known of his life after this time. He died no later than 1660, because in that year his younger brother took up his hereditary titles. There is a legend that Urquhart died in a fit of laughter on receiving news of the Restoration of Charles II.