hackle

noun
hack·​le | \ ˈha-kəl How to pronounce hackle (audio) \

Definition of hackle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : one of the long narrow feathers on the neck or saddle of a bird
b : the neck plumage of the domestic fowl
2 : a comb or board with long metal teeth for dressing flax, hemp, or jute
3 hackles plural
a : erectile hairs along the neck and back especially of a dog
b : temper, dander the issue raised some hackles
4a : an artificial fishing fly made chiefly of the filaments of a cock's neck feathers
b : filaments of cock feather projecting from the head of an artificial fly

hackle

verb
hackled; hackling\ ˈha-​k(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce hackling (audio) \

Definition of hackle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to comb out with a hackle

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Other Words from hackle

Verb

hackler \ ˈha-​k(ə-​)lər How to pronounce hackler (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

Noun

In its earliest uses in the 15th century, "hackle" denoted either a bird's neck plumage or an instrument used to comb out long fibers of flax, hemp, or jute. Apparently, some folks saw a resemblance between the neck feathers of domestic birds - which, on a male, become erect when the bird is defensive - and the prongs of the comb-like tool. In the 19th century, English speakers extended the word's use to both dogs and people. Like the bird's feathers, the erectile hairs on the back of a dog's neck stand up when the animal is agitated. With humans, use of the word hackles is usually figurative. When you raise someone's hackles, you make them angry or put them on the defensive.

Examples of hackle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The use of both red and yellow hackles is striking; the pattern’s flat silver tinsel adds flash and attractiveness. Mike Valla, Field & Stream, "8 Vintage Streamer Patterns for Trout and Salmon," 14 May 2020 The ways young children play can also raise animals’ hackles. Alla Katsnelson, New York Times, "How to Stop Your Child From Tormenting Your Pet," 15 Apr. 2020 The mere mention of the word even seemed to raise Yelich's hackles. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Camp report: Craig Counsell's message to the Brewers? It's a great time to make new friends," 18 Feb. 2020 Rubio’s other ideas are the sort that shouldn’t really raze libertarian hackles that much: expanding the federal per-child tax credit, reforming the Small Business Administration, and so on. Jim Geraghty, National Review, "A Federal Government That’s Not Good at Its Job Can’t Effectively Serve the ‘Common Good’," 13 Dec. 2019 Parking in the lot is cheap, and street parking free, so finding a spot for Spot won’t raise your hackles. Los Angeles Times, "Four Hours in Belmont Shore: A dog- and kid-friendly tour," 27 Sep. 2019 This feline profiteering raised the hackles of an animal-rights activist in Florida named Carole Baskin, a dotty, hippie-ish blonde who wears almost exclusively leopard-print clothing and floral crowns. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "I Clicked and Seven Hours Passed: Netflix’s “Tiger King”," 26 Mar. 2020 And their experiences raise hackles when compared to politicians and celebrities who sometimes are tested without delay. Dennis Wagner, USA TODAY, "The first known US coronavirus case is nearly two months old — and it's still 'pretty complicated' to be tested," 13 Mar. 2020 The failure to release the name of the drug, however, raised hackles. Ed Silverman, STAT, "The FDA identifies its first drug shortage due to coronavirus but won’t name the medicine," 28 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hackle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hackle

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1599, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hackle

Noun

Middle English hakell; akin to Old High German hāko hook — more at hook

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Time Traveler for hackle

Time Traveler

The first known use of hackle was in the 15th century

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Statistics for hackle

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hackle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hackle. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on hackle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hackle

Nglish: Translation of hackle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hackle

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