bar·​bi·​cel ˈbär-bə-ˌsel How to pronounce barbicel (audio)
: any of the small hook-bearing processes on a barbule of a feather see feather illustration

Examples of barbicel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web If the microscopic hooks are indeed barbicels, this is the earliest evidence of a flight-capable feather that has ever been found. Rachel Fritts, Ars Technica, 15 Jan. 2020 In modern birds, barbicels are the structures that allow flight feathers to retain their shape as birds flap their wings. Rachel Fritts, Ars Technica, 15 Jan. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'barbicel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin barbicella, diminutive of Latin barba

First Known Use

1827, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of barbicel was in 1827

Dictionary Entries Near barbicel

Cite this Entry

“Barbicel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

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