Definition of vibrissa in English:


Syllabification: vi·bris·sa
Pronunciation: /vīˈbrisə

noun (plural vibrissae /-brisē, -ˈbrisˌī/)

  • 1Any of the long stiff hairs growing around the mouth or elsewhere on the face of many mammals, used as organs of touch; whiskers.
    More example sentences
    • They also have large vibrissae, stiff whisker-like hairs above the upper lip and at the corners of the mouth.
    • Rather, they find food via the sensitive touch of their 600 to 700 vibrissae, or whiskers, which have been likened to multifingered hands on the animals' snouts.
    • They use their vibrissae as sensing organs underwater to monitor the movements of fishes and other prey.
  • 1.1 Ornithology Each of the coarse bristlelike feathers growing around the gape of certain insectivorous birds that catch insects in flight.


late 17th century: from Latin, literally 'nostril hair'.

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elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody