"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[prik-lee] /ˈprɪk li/
adjective, pricklier, prickliest.
full of or armed with prickles.
full of troublesome points:
a prickly problem.
prickling; smarting:
a prickly sensation.
Origin of prickly
1570-80; prickle + -y1
Related forms
prickliness, noun
unprickly, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for prickly
  • He pulled down a handful of prickly husks and went on eating the contents.
  • The only way up is to walk-over loose rock, past prickly brush and rattlesnakes-with frequent pauses to catch one's breath.
  • It is impossible to tell at the moment, but it certainly would have made mating an prickly prospect for these animals.
  • Gift guide: the perfect present for prickly friends.
  • With a teaspoon, scoop out the prickly center until you get to the bottom.
  • It is the season of suicide and divorce and prickly dread, wherever the wind blows.
  • Soon they were busy round a prickly fir-tree at the end of the lawn.
  • Over the course of the film, the two develop a prickly touch-and-go relationship.
  • They can't afford not to be in direct contact with the prickly truth.
  • Hedgehogs have prickly spines everywhere except on their face, legs, and bellies.
British Dictionary definitions for prickly


adjective -lier, -liest
having or covered with prickles
stinging or tingling
bad-tempered or irritable
full of difficulties; knotty: a prickly problem
Derived Forms
prickliness, noun
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 prickly

1570s, "spiny, armed with prickles" (originally of holly leaves), from prickle (n.) + -y (2). Figurative sense of "irritable" first recorded 1862. Prickly heat is from 1736, so called for the sensation; prickly pear is from 1760 (earlier prickle pear, 1610s). Related: Prickliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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