whis·​ker | \ ˈ(h)wi-skər How to pronounce whisker (audio) \

Definition of whisker

1a : a hair of the beard
b whiskers plural
(1) archaic : mustache
(2) : the part of the beard growing on the sides of the face or on the chin
c : hairbreadth lost the race by a whisker
2 : one of the long projecting hairs or bristles growing near the mouth of an animal (such as a cat or bird)
3 : an outrigger extending on each side of the bowsprit to spread the jib and flying jib guys usually used in plural
4a : a shred or filament resembling a whisker
b : a thin hairlike crystal (as of sapphire or copper) of exceptional mechanical strength used especially to reinforce composite structural material

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from whisker

whiskered \ ˈ(h)wi-​skərd How to pronounce whisker (audio) \ adjective
whiskery \ ˈ(h)wi-​sk(ə-​)rē How to pronounce whisker (audio) \ adjective

Examples of whisker in a Sentence

He won the race by a whisker.
Recent Examples on the Web This book makes the case that Adolf Hitler was within a whisker of winning the Second World War and failed to do so only because President Roosevelt came to the rescue of Joseph Stalin, Hitler’s nemesis. David Pryce-jones, National Review, 27 May 2021 Unemployment among Black men, a whisker under 20 percent in March 2010, had fallen to around 5 percent in November 2019. Christopher Caldwell, The New Republic, 8 Feb. 2021 Garoppolo led the 49ers within a whisker of winning the Super Bowl two years ago and is the favorite to start this fall, though the 49ers traded up to No. 3 in last month’s draft to take quarterback Trey Lance. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, 12 May 2021 Another important defensive moment for the Giants came in the seventh when, with the bases loaded, Brandon Crawford made a nice play deep in the hole on a chopper by Crondnworth and threw to second to get an inning-ending force by a whisker. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 May 2021 After the 1960 campaign, there was good reason to believe all manner of chicanery contributed to John F. Kennedy’s whisker-thin victory over Nixon. Los Angeles Times, 27 Jan. 2021 After many years of failing even to make it out of committee, the bill came within a whisker of enactment last year. The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 Jan. 2021 The southern state that Joe Biden won by a whisker last month is holding two Senate run-off elections in January that will help define his presidency. Stephen Collinson And Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, 7 Dec. 2020 That random handful might hold microscopic fungi, decomposing plant matter, a whisker-size nematode munching on the fungi, and a predatory, pinhead-size mite about to pounce on the nematode. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, 4 Dec. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of whisker

circa 1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for whisker

singular of whiskers mustache, from whisk entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about whisker

Time Traveler for whisker

Time Traveler

The first known use of whisker was circa 1600

See more words from the same year

Statistics for whisker

Last Updated

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Whisker.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whisker. Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for whisker



English Language Learners Definition of whisker

: a hair that grows on a man's face
: any one of the long, stiff hairs that grow near the mouth of some animals
informal : a very small distance or amount


whis·​ker | \ ˈhwi-skər How to pronounce whisker (audio) , ˈwi- \

Kids Definition of whisker

1 whiskers plural : the part of the beard that grows on the sides of the face and on the chin
2 : one hair of the beard
3 : a long bristle or hair growing near the mouth of an animal (as a cat)

More from Merriam-Webster on whisker

Nglish: Translation of whisker for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of whisker for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!