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whisker

Syllabification: whisk·er
Pronunciation: /ˈ(h)wiskər
 
/

Definition of whisker in English:

noun

1A long projecting hair or bristle growing from the face or snout of many mammals.
Example sentences
  • Every once in a while, particularly when I take out clothes that I haven't worn since our move, I find a cat whisker or a dog hair.
  • Another notable mode of sensation in cats are whiskers, or vibrissae.
  • It has a nose like a dog's, teeth like a leopard's, and whiskers like an otter's.
1.1 (whiskers) The hair growing on a man’s face, especially on his cheeks.
Example sentences
  • The examiner was a Dr Bull, an elderly anatomy lecturer of rather Victorian appearance, with mutton-chop whiskers and beetling eyebrows.
  • Since the mustache part of General Burnside's invention was nothing new, the cheek whiskers became known as ‘Burnsides’ and enjoyed a certain vogue among men of the day.
  • The Emperor Franz Josef favoured equally luxuriant mutton-chop whiskers - effectively a beard, with the chin shaven.
Synonyms
1.2A single crystal of a material in the form of a filament with no dislocations.
Example sentences
  • The particles may be carbon fibers, carbon black, carbon whiskers, coated hollow microspheres, or a combination thereof.
  • However, these materials were still too weak to support their own weight without tapering, although in the case of graphite whiskers the taper ratio was a more manageable 100.
  • Chlamydomonas strains were transformed according to the silicon carbide whisker method of DUNAHAY 1993, with the following modifications.
2 (a whisker) informal A very small amount: they won the election by a whisker
More example sentences
  • I intuit Blair will win the election by a whisker.
  • This year, for example, the amount given to Republicans is just a whisker more than $1 million.
  • This release just missed the cut on the last missive by a whisker and a bit.
3A spar for extending the clews of a sail so that it can catch more wind.
Example sentences
  • Between the whiskers and the fore-mast.

Origin

late Middle English (originally denoting a bundle of feathers, twigs, etc., used for whisking): from the verb whisk + -er1.

More
  • A whisker was originally a bundle of twigs used to whisk with. It was used for facial hair, particularly a moustache from about 1600, presumably because of some perceived similarity, and only used of animals at the end of the 17th century. Cat's whisker was used for the wire used to tune an early crystal radio set at the start of the 20th century. The card game whist was originally called whisk when it came in during the mid 17th century.

Phrases

within a whisker of

1
informal Extremely close or near to doing, achieving, or suffering something.
Example sentences
  • As the center's initial three-year grant drew to a close, CTFA came within a whisker of pulling its support.
  • As a result of those finds, Cairn's shares have risen in steady steps from £4 to within a whisker of £15 today.
  • He said the SRA wanted to scrap the route to shave a couple of minutes off the Manchester to London journey time, bringing it within a whisker of two hours.

Derivatives

whiskered

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • For most of his career, the 69-year-old stage and TV actor has specialised in playing older character parts - more often than not the kind of fearsomely whiskered old coves who look like they'd be pretty handy with a blunderbuss.
  • Occasionally I would be rewarded with a wee, twitching, whiskered snout poking out of the little yellow house.
  • Rivalling the film's spectacular scenery for radiant, wintry beauty, Nicole Kidman plays Ada, pitching up in the town of Cold Mountain with her preacher pappy - a white whiskered Donald Sutherland.

whiskery

2
adjective
Example sentences
  • A fat, whiskery man relaxing on the bridge introduced himself as ‘Casper - the friendly Second Officer’.
  • When I got back to the table I stood behind Papa, slipped my arms around his neck and bending down kissed his whiskery cheek.
  • For many people the word ‘geologist’ is apt to conjure up images of whiskery Victorian fossil collectors clad in heavy tweeds.

Words that rhyme with whisker

frisker

Definition of whisker in:

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