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whisker

[hwis-ker, wis-] /ˈʰwɪs kər, ˈwɪs-/
noun
1.
whiskers, a beard.
2.
Usually, whiskers. side whiskers.
3.
a single hair of the beard.
4.
Archaic. a mustache.
5.
one of the long, stiff, bristly hairs growing about the mouth of certain animals, as the cat or rat; vibrissa.
6.
Also called whisker boom, whisker pole. Nautical. any spar for extending the clew or clews of a sail so that it can catch more wind.
7.
Radio, Electronics. cat whisker.
8.
Crystallography. a thin filament of a crystal, usually several millimeters long and one to two microns in diameter, having unusually great strength.
Idioms
9.
by a whisker, by the narrowest margin:
She won the race by a whisker.
Origin
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English; see whisk, -er1
Related forms
whiskery, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for by whisker

whisker

/ˈwɪskə/
noun
1.
any of the stiff sensory hairs growing on the face of a cat, rat, or other mammal Technical name vibrissa
2.
any of the hairs growing on a person's face, esp on the cheeks or chin
3.
(pl) a beard or that part of it growing on the sides of the face
4.
(pl) (informal) a moustache
5.
Also called whisker boom, whisker pole. any light spar used for extending the clews of a sail, esp in light airs
6.
(chem) a very fine filamentary crystal having greater strength than the bulk material since it is a single crystal. Such crystals often show unusual electrical properties
7.
a person or thing that whisks
8.
a narrow margin; a small distance he escaped death by a whisker
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 by whisker
whisker
"hair of a man's face" (usually plural), c.1600, originally a playful formation, from M.E. wisker "anything that whisks or sweeps" (early 15c.); see whisk (v.). In ref. to animal lip hair, recorded from 1670s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with by whisker
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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