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stickleback

[stik-uh l-bak] /ˈstɪk əlˌbæk/
noun
1.
any of the small, pugnacious, spiny-backed fishes of the family Gasterosteidae, inhabiting northern fresh waters and sea inlets, the male of which builds and guards the nest.
Also called prickleback.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English stykylbak, equivalent to Old English sticol scaly + bæc back1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for stickleback
  • And asking a first-grader to do a full-on research project on something as unusual as the stickleback fish was a bit much.
  • It first infects invertebrates called copepods, which it causes to swim around more, making them easier prey for stickleback fish.
  • The stickleback is a bottom-dweller and has no need for an air bladder.
  • Another interesting adaptation is the stickleback courtship behavior.
  • These large trout attain their size by preying on smelt, stickleback, and dace along with numerous bugs and insects.
British Dictionary definitions for stickleback

stickleback

/ˈstɪkəlˌbæk/
noun
1.
any small teleost fish of the family Gasterosteidae, such as Gasterosteus aculeatus (three-spined stickleback) of rivers and coastal regions and G. pungitius (ten-spined stickleback) confined to rivers. They have a series of spines along the back and occur in cold and temperate northern regions
Word Origin
C15: from Old English stickel prick, sting + back1
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 stickleback
n.

c.1400, from Old English sticel "prick, sting" (from Proto-Germanic *stik- "pierce, prick, be sharp;" see stick (v.)) + back.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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