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prickly

[prik-lee] /ˈprɪk li/
adjective, pricklier, prickliest.
1.
full of or armed with prickles.
2.
full of troublesome points:
a prickly problem.
3.
prickling; smarting:
a prickly sensation.
Origin of prickly
1570-1580
1570-80; prickle + -y1
Related forms
prickliness, noun
unprickly, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for prickly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I followed, but was not so fortunate; falling heels over head, I landed in a bunch of prickly pears.

    Torrey's Narrative William Torrey
  • The hair was wet and matted and prickly leaves were stuck in it.

    Pee-wee Harris Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • Notice how prickly and needlelike on all sides these cedar branches are.

    The Hunted Woman James Oliver Curwood
  • It had no gate but a gap in the fence, and no fence but a hedge of the prickly pear and the aloe.

    The Scapegoat Hall Caine
  • And this prickly blockhead had not the practical sagacity to get upon a wall seven feet and six inches high!

    Cobwebs From an Empty Skull Ambrose Bierce (AKA: Dod Grile)
British Dictionary definitions for prickly

prickly

/ˈprɪklɪ/
adjective -lier, -liest
1.
having or covered with prickles
2.
stinging or tingling
3.
bad-tempered or irritable
4.
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
adj.

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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