Definition of vibrissa
plural vibrissae play \vī-ˈbri-(ˌ)sē; və-ˈbri-(ˌ)sē, -ˌsī\
1 : one of the stiff hairs that are located especially about the nostrils or on other parts of the face in many mammals and that often serve as tactile organs
2 : one of the bristly feathers near the mouth of many and especially insectivorous birds that may help to prevent the escape of insects
Did You Know?
The whiskers of a cat qualify as vibrissae (that’s the plural of vibrissa), as do the hairlike feathers around the bill of some birds - especially the insect-feeding kind. And when scientists first used vibrissa in the late 17th century, they used the word to refer specifically to the hairs inside the human nostril. Science got this word, as it has many others, from Latin. Vibrissa comes from vibrare, which means all of the following: "to brandish," "to wave," "to rock," and "to propel suddenly." Other vibrare descendents in English include vibrate, vibrato, and veer.
Origin of vibrissa
Medieval Latin, from Latin vibrare
First Known Use: circa 1693
Medical Definition of vibrissa
1: any of the stiff hairs that are located on the face and especially about the snout of many mammals and typically serve as tactile organs
2: any of the coarse hairs growing within the nostrils of humans that serve to impede the inhalation of particulate matter
Learn More about vibrissa
Medical Dictionary: Definition of "vibrissa"
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