whis·ker | \ˈhwi-skər, ˈwi-\

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

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Other Words from whisker

whiskered \ˈhwi-skərd, ˈwi- \ adjective
whiskery \ˈhwi-sk(ə-)rē, ˈwi- \ adjective

Examples of whisker in a Sentence

He won the race by a whisker.

Recent Examples on the Web

Catfish are bottom feeders, often eating dead fish, and the artful stink bait maker’s goal is to create a scent that will attract the whisker fish in the dark summer waters. Ernie Cowan, sandiegouniontribune.com, "The cats come out at night," 23 June 2018 Lake sturgeon have five rows of bony plates along the body, a relatively long snout with four whisker-looking barbels and a shark-like tail. Michigan Wildlife Council, Detroit Free Press, "Polishing a gem: Plan aims for St. Clair-Detroit River system improvements," 10 July 2018 Wealthy Chinese businessmen in particular prize the fish — with its large glimmering scales, sage-like whiskers and aggressive personality — for its resemblance to the mythical Chinese dragon. Amy Qin, New York Times, "Cosmetic Surgery for a Pet Fish? In Asia, This One Is King of the Tank," 27 Mar. 2018 The setae on crustaceans often act like whiskers, helping the animals detect and react to changes in their environment. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Introducing a Hairy-Footed Shrimp Named After Bilbo Baggins," 13 June 2018 The green whiskers down at the bulbous bottom, though, those have a higher likelihood of a successful grasp. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Robots Can't Hold Stuff Very Well. But You Can Help," 13 July 2018 Portugal was knocked out in the group stage in 2014 and in the round of 16 four years prior to that, while Messi came within a whisker of winning it all last time. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "This World Cup makes it official: Cristiano Ronaldo is greater than Lionel Messi," 22 June 2018 The largest group, by a whisker, is Anglo (as non-Hispanic whites are known in Texas), followed by Hispanics, then African-Americans and Asians. The Economist, "Demography is not destinyBuilding a multiracial coalition is more difficult than it seems," 12 July 2018 There were several towns on Cape Cod that scored high on our survey, including Dennis, which missed the top spot by a whisker (better luck next year). Christopher Muther, BostonGlobe.com, "New England’s best beach town? Globe readers pick Narragansett, R.I.," 23 May 2018

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.

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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

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Phrases Related to whisker

the cat's whiskers

within a whisker of

Statistics for whisker

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for whisker

The first known use of whisker was circa 1600

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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

: a very small distance or amount


whis·ker | \ˈhwi-skər, 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)

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Comments on whisker

What made you want to look up whisker? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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