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[fee-ler] /ˈfi lər/
a person or thing that feels.
a proposal, remark, hint, etc., designed to bring out the opinions or purposes of others:
Interested in an accord, both labor and management were putting out feelers.
Zoology. an organ of touch, as an antenna or a tentacle.
Also called feeler gauge. Engineering. a gauge having several blades of known thickness, used for measuring clearances.
Nautical. a device for indicating that the lead of a mechanical sounding device has come to the bottom.
Origin of feeler
First recorded in 1520-30; feel + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for feeler
Historical Examples
  • "I see you have Diablo entered for the Brooklyn," Faust put out as a feeler.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • Roll in dried and powdered coral, and put a piece of feeler in each.

    The Skilful Cook Mary Harrison
  • He expected to feel the jerk of the electric shock of the feeler.

    The Whispering Spheres Russell Robert Winterbotham
  • Just a feeler of Frémont's—his army's three miles over there in the woods.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • Note the knob on the end of the butterfly's feeler (Fig. 143).

    Agriculture for Beginners Charles William Burkett
  • "They are saying good-bye to each other, now," said Tom, by way of a feeler.

    Stanford Stories Charles K. Field
  • It was just a feeler, but the woman didn't even answer to that.

    The Day Time Stopped Moving Bradner Buckner
  • Ted glanced keenly at his companion, for he had made the remark as a sort of feeler.

    The Pirate City R.M. Ballantyne
  • "But I don't like doing that sort of thing," she went on, throwing out a feeler.

    Mammon and Co. E. F. Benson
  • Look here, Mac, d'you think you could put out a feeler for us?

    Captain Calamity

    Rolf Bennett
British Dictionary definitions for feeler


a person or thing that feels
an organ in certain animals, such as an antenna or tentacle, that is sensitive to touch
a remark designed to probe the reactions or intentions of other people
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for feeler

early 15c., "one who feels," agent noun from feel (v.). Of animal organs, 1660s. Transferred sense of "proposal put forth to observe the reaction it gets" is from 1830. Related: Feelers.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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feeler in Science
A slender body part used for touching or sensing. The antennae of insects and the barbels of catfish are feelers.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with feeler


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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