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barnacle1

[bahr-nuh-kuh l] /ˈbɑr nə kəl/
noun
1.
any marine crustacean of the subclass Cirripedia, usually having a calcareous shell, being either stalked (goose barnacle) and attaching itself to ship bottoms and floating timber, or stalkless (rock barnacle or acorn barnacle) and attaching itself to rocks, especially in the intertidal zone.
2.
a person or thing that clings tenaciously.
Origin of barnacle1
1580-1585
1580-85; perhaps a conflation of barnacle barnacle goose with Cornish brennyk, Irish báirneach limpet, Welsh brenig limpets, reflecting the folk belief that such geese, whose breeding grounds were unknown, were engendered from rotten ships' planking
Related forms
barnacled, adjective

barnacle2

[bahr-nuh-kuh l] /ˈbɑr nə kəl/
noun
1.
Usually, barnacles. an instrument with two hinged branches for pinching the nose of an unruly horse.
2.
barnacles, British Dialect, spectacles (def 3).
Origin
1350-1400; Middle English bernacle bit, diminutive of bernac < Old French < ?
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for barnacle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Both words being popularly corrupted into barnacle, it was natural that the two things should be considered as identical.

    Myth-Land F. Edward Hulme
  • The barnacle family had for some time helped to administer the Circumlocution Office.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • To have got the whole barnacle family together would have been impossible for two reasons.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • “I bet the barnacle haunts Purt in his dreams,” exclaimed Bobby.

    The Girls of Central High in Camp Gertrude W. Morrison
  • You haven't got any appointment, you know,' said barnacle Junior.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • “Nor could he have been the person we—and the barnacle—have been trailing,” she said, suddenly.

    The Girls of Central High in Camp Gertrude W. Morrison
  • The passage referring to "the barnacle" will be found in the Topog.

  • Do let the barnacle keep the sheriff up in that tree for a little while longer.

    The Girls of Central High in Camp Gertrude W. Morrison
  • “Looks as though he had finally gotten rid of the barnacle, just the same,” laughed Laura.

    The Girls of Central High in Camp Gertrude W. Morrison
British Dictionary definitions for barnacle

barnacle

/ˈbɑːnəkəl/
noun
1.
any of various marine crustaceans of the subclass Cirripedia that, as adults, live attached to rocks, ship bottoms, etc. They have feathery food-catching cirri protruding from a hard shell See acorn barnacle, goose barnacle
2.
a person or thing that is difficult to get rid of
Derived Forms
barnacled, adjective
Word Origin
C16: related to Late Latin bernicla, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for barnacle
n.

early 13c., "species of wild goose;" as a type of "shellfish," first recorded 1580s. Often derived from a Celtic source (cf. Breton bernik, a kind of shellfish), but the application to the goose predates that of the shellfish in English. The goose nests in the Arctic in summer and returns to Europe in the winter, hence the mystery surrounding its reproduction. It was believed in ancient superstition to hatch from barnacle's shell, possibly because the crustacean's feathery stalks resemble goose down. The scientific name of the crustacean, Cirripedes, is from Greek cirri "curls of hair" + pedes "feet."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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barnacle in Science
barnacle
  (bär'nə-kəl)   
Any of various small marine crustaceans of the subclass Cirripedia that form a hard shell in the adult stage and attach themselves to underwater surfaces, such as rocks, the bottoms of ships, and the skin of whales.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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