prick·​le | \ ˈpri-kəl How to pronounce prickle (audio) \

Definition of prickle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a fine sharp process or projection especially : a sharp pointed emergence arising from the epidermis or cortex (see cortex sense 3a) of a plant (such as a rose or raspberry) — compare spine, thorn
2 : a prickling or tingling sensation


prickled; prickling\ ˈpri-​k(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce prickle (audio) \

Definition of prickle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to prick slightly
2 : to produce prickles in

intransitive verb

: to cause or feel a prickling, tingling, or stinging sensation

Examples of prickle in a Sentence

Noun She felt a prickle of fear as the stranger came closer to her. He felt the familiar prickle of excitement as the game began. Verb The burrs were prickling my arm. The wool sweater prickled my skin. My skin prickled with fear. The hair prickled on the back of my neck. She felt a prickling sensation in her shoulder. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The notion of home is a perpetual prickle that plagues all refugees and exiles, apparently even me. Sigrid Macrae, Harper's Magazine, 16 Mar. 2021 Lately, we’ve been stuck in them, like a prickle in a quiver, chickens in a coop, bears in a den, waiting out our desolate hibernation. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, 31 Aug. 2020 Duende is the Spanish word for it: the prickle on the skin, the ax-edge of experience, sublimity freeze-framed—even a shining closeness to death. James Parker, The Atlantic, 21 Dec. 2019 Keep wet clothes from getting tangled in your dryer with these hedgehogs, whose round bodies and prickles will help your laundry dry faster by separating it. Popular Science, 3 Jan. 2020 His breath was hot on my neck, warm prickles, more sparks of heat. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 4 Dec. 2019 Illustration by Natalya Balnova for TIME Thistles, a kind of flowering plant often covered in angry-looking prickles, are probably not an ingredient in any of your go-to recipes. Time, 7 Nov. 2019 Anyone else feeling the faint prickle of a tear or two? Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, 25 Sep. 2019 Some varieties have few to no prickles on the stems, and some are fragrant. San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb All the performances are deliciously lurid; the sound designers Ray Archie and Stephanie Singer make the (empty?) rooms prickle with supernatural dread. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 28 July 2021 Yet the little that Potter wrote manages to prickle. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, 16 Apr. 2021 Scenes once passed over as unimportant begin to prickle with new meaning, as if time itself had been the missing ingredient for understanding them. Jenny Offill, The New Yorker, 29 Dec. 2020 But when the question came, everything in the dusty room seemed to go still; the air itself seemed to thicken, to prickle against our skin. B. Pietras, Longreads, 27 Apr. 2020 These are stinging, burning or prickling sensations which worsen with age and can last for hours or even days as the most common side effects. Uwagbale Edward-ekpu, Quartz Africa, 21 Mar. 2020 In 2012, the journal Pain published a case report of a person with burning, prickling pain on both sides of the body. Amber Dance, Scientific American, 20 Jan. 2020 There’s the prickling sense that a library door or a manhole cover or a forest path might lead you not just to the end of a chapter but to a drugs party or a rave. New York Times, 5 Dec. 2019 Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate, hosted by CNN and The New York Times, ended with a question that prickled Democratic candidates and viewers alike. Evan Real, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Oct. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of prickle


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1522, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for prickle


Middle English prikle, from Old English pricle; akin to Old English prica prick

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

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Cite this Entry

“Prickle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for prickle


prick·​le | \ ˈpri-kəl How to pronounce prickle (audio) \

Kids Definition of prickle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a small sharp point (as a thorn)
2 : a slight stinging pain


prickled; prickling

Kids Definition of prickle (Entry 2 of 2)


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