hackle

noun
hack·le | \ˈha-kəl \

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 \

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 \ 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

Their support may be put to the test in the coming year, as Wilcox talks about pursuing strategies that raise hackles among some educators. Ann Doss Helms, charlotteobserver, "CMS leader has won fans among teachers. But these moves may test their loyalty.," 13 July 2018 Crivella’s connection to the Universal church has raised hackles before. Washington Post, "Rio city council votes against opening impeachment of mayor," 12 July 2018 Crivella's connection to the Universal church has raised hackles before. Fox News, "Rio city council votes against opening impeachment of mayor," 12 July 2018 Janowitz raises hackles as the perfectly irritating Trevor. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Bikini Moon': Film Review | Shanghai 2018," 27 June 2018 When Twitter came up in conversation, so did my hackles. Shaunacy Ferro, The Cut, "I Unfollowed My Boyfriend on Twitter to Save Our Relationship," 26 June 2018 Another point of contention a new program with comedian Michelle Wolf, who famously raised the hackles of conservatives at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in April. refinery29.com, "Not All Republicans Are Boycotting Netflix Over Obama — & The Numbers Show It," 2 June 2018 But the demo — which amounted to a series of extremely high-tech crank calls — raised a lot of hackles. Kevin Roose, New York Times, "Kevin’s Week in Tech: Are Google’s A.I.-Powered Phone Calls Cool, Creepy, or Both?," 11 May 2018 Hornberg Special: Created by Frank Hornberg, a Department of Natural Resources game warden from Stevens Point, this streamer has an elongated wing formed by two mallard breast feathers with two yellow hackle feathers underneath. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: 13 famous Wisconsin fly patterns take center stage," 21 Apr. 2018

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

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

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