Share this entry

Share this page

whisker

Line breaks: whis|ker
Pronunciation: /ˈwɪskə
 
/

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.
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 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.

Origin

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

Phrases

have (or have grown) whiskers

1
informal (Especially of a story) be very old.
Example sentences
  • The contents are usually tacky rubbish - a big coloured paper hat which you wear, a very cheap plastic toy made in Hong Kong, and a joke so old it has whiskers bigger than Santa Claus's.
  • There is scant joy to be derived from a joke that has grown whiskers.
  • This business of being a multiculturalist has whiskers on it already.

within a whisker of

2
informal Extremely close or near to doing, achieving, or suffering something: Jarvis came within a whisker of winning the game
More 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.

Definition of whisker in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day jaunt
Pronunciation: jônt
noun
a short excursion or journey for pleasure