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

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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 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, "Everyone in Washington has Georgia on their mind," 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, "There’s an ecosystem beneath your feet—and it needs protection, says new report," 4 Dec. 2020 This morning, Asia awoke to the prospect that Biden, by a whisker, may have unseated Donald Trump as the next president of the United States. Fortune, "China’s 2020 election ‘indicator’ showed a closer race than U.S. polling," 5 Nov. 2020 Eleven couples remained in the competition at the start of Monday's episode, with one celebrity-pro pair getting the sad news of its elimination in a whisker-close finish. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'Dancing With the Stars': Chrishell Stause, Jeannie Mai offer emotional stories; huge upset averted," 20 Oct. 2020 Stacey Abrams, the Georgian who came within a whisker of becoming governor in the Peach State two years ago, is the new darling of Democratic Party activism. Michael Golden, Star Tribune, "To sweep Georgia Senate races, Democrats must rally Black voters ... again," 11 Nov. 2020 The next year, the Wolverines took another leap forward, entering the preliminary rankings of the College Football Playoff and coming within a whisker of defeating Ohio State in overtime before reaching their first New Year’s Six bowl since 2011. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Jim Harbaugh and the uncomfortable truth of his Michigan football tenure," 18 Oct. 2020 Trump, who has often talked about capturing Minnesota this year after coming within a whisker in 2016, has recently cut back on ad buys in the state. Steve Karnowski, Star Tribune, "Lewis' hopes for Senate upset may turn on Trump's fate," 18 Oct. 2020 Salmon snailfish have whisker-like pectoral fins below their mouths that are equipped with taste buds. New York Times, "Bringing the Ocean’s Midnight Zone Into the Light," 22 Sep. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for whisker

Time Traveler

The first known use of whisker was circa 1600

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Statistics for whisker

Last Updated

15 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Whisker.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whisker. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for whisker


How to pronounce whisker (audio)

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

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