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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
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for barnacles
  • Hitchhiking on the surface of a boat hull can be a rough ride, but barnacles seem to do it with ease.
  • But the fuel is free, and the running costs amount largely to scraping barnacles off the buoy's bottom every so often.
  • It can be applied to the hulls of ships and submarines to prevent algae and barnacles from attaching themselves.
  • Even tiny barnacles take in microscopic fragments of the stuff, which then move up the food chain, with unknown consequences.
  • From barnacles that hijack crabs to a protozoan that makes rodents cozy up to cats, parasites do a lot more than make you puke.
  • The other sides of the slabs were encrusted with barnacles.
  • They sink beneath the water in slow increments, covered with rot and barnacles.
  • Loggerheads have rough shells with barnacles attached to them.
  • We would wash up underneath, and the barnacles would take the hide off of our bodies.
  • barnacles and oysters have started to settle on them, and crab and winkle trails crisscross the sediment.
British Dictionary definitions for barnacles

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 barnacles

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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barnacles 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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