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[hwis-ker, wis-] /ˈʰwɪs kər, ˈwɪs-/
whiskers, a beard.
Usually, whiskers. side whiskers.
a single hair of the beard.
Archaic. a mustache.
one of the long, stiff, bristly hairs growing about the mouth of certain animals, as the cat or rat; vibrissa.
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.
Radio, Electronics. cat whisker.
Crystallography. a thin filament of a crystal, usually several millimeters long and one to two microns in diameter, having unusually great strength.
by a whisker, by the narrowest margin:
She won the race by a whisker.
Origin of whisker
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English; see whisk, -er1
Related forms
whiskery, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for whisker
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I thank him from my soul for not cultivating the national cat's whisker.

  • Delancy tugged at his wisp of whisker, and wagged his head dolefully.

    Making People Happy Thompson Buchanan
  • His grey hair is bald on the top, and he is clean-shaven except for a hint of whisker.

    First Plays A. A. Milne
  • His wrinkled, red face was edged by a white fringe of whisker.

  • Then the Indian swallowed a bottle of whisker dye and all seemed to grow black before him.

  • A scanty growth of whisker did not conceal the contour of his jaw.

    End of the Tether Joseph Conrad
  • I think the safety razors were responsible for most of the blanks in my whisker area.

    Cupid's Middleman Edward B. Lent
  • The whisker is that part of the beard that grows on the cheek.

    Write It Right Ambrose Bierce
British Dictionary definitions for whisker


any of the stiff sensory hairs growing on the face of a cat, rat, or other mammal Technical name vibrissa
any of the hairs growing on a person's face, esp on the cheeks or chin
(pl) a beard or that part of it growing on the sides of the face
(pl) (informal) a moustache
Also called whisker boom, whisker pole. any light spar used for extending the clews of a sail, esp in light airs
(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
a person or thing that whisks
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 whisker

"hair of a man's face" (usually plural), c.1600, originally a playful formation, from Middle English wisker "anything that whisks or sweeps" (early 15c.); see whisk (v.). In reference to animal lip hair, recorded from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with whisker
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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