1

hackle

noun hack·le \ ˈha-kəl \
Updated on: 6 Nov 2017

Definition of hackle

1 a : 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
4 a : 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 was our Word of the Day on 03/20/2017. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of hackle from the Web

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Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of hackle

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

Other Birds Terms


2

hackle

verb

Definition of hackle

hackled; hackling play \ˈha-k(ə-)liŋ\
transitive verb
: to comb out with a hackle

hackler

play \ˈha-k(ə-)lər\ noun

First Known Use of hackle

1599




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to remove or wipe out

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