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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 whiskers
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Kotsor, the cat, blinked his eyes and worked his whiskers in surprise.

    The Shoemaker's Apron Parker Fillmore
  • Look here, Mr. Sperry, how much is this bill with the whiskers?

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • Now I want a black or grayish beard, whiskers, and mustache.

  • His moustache was quite white: he wore the whiskers and imperial of 1850.

    A Nest of Spies Pierre Souvestre
  • Remember all the tales we've heard about his whiskers, his old slouch hat and his sorrel horse.

    The Sword of Antietam Joseph A. Altsheler
  • His hat off, we recognized the handsome author of the "Burnside" whiskers.

    War from the Inside Frederick L. (Frederick Lyman) Hitchcock
  • In stories, you wouldn't recognize a sheriff without his whiskers.

British Dictionary definitions for whiskers


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 whiskers



"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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Slang definitions & phrases for whiskers



(also whirlpooling) A rowdy boys' prank of surrounding a girl in a swimming pool and roiling the water while chanting rap lyrics •The game has often led to sexual violence against the trapped girl (1980s+ Teenagers)


To dispose of someone or something as if by tossing into a whirlpool: What music was Bill Clinton listening to when he whirlpooled Lani Guinier? (1990s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with whiskers
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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