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[prik-uh l] /ˈprɪk əl/
a sharp point.
a small, pointed process growing from the bark of a plant.
a sharp process or projection, as from the skin of an animal; a spine.
a pricking sensation.
verb (used with object), prickled, prickling.
to prick lightly.
to cause a pricking or tingling sensation in.
verb (used without object), prickled, prickling.
to tingle as if pricked.
Origin of prickle
before 950; Middle English prykel (noun), Old English pricel. See prick, -le
Related forms
unprickled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for prickle
Historical Examples
  • When he comes to burn your prickle off, I will slip it into your mouth.

  • Variable œdema of the prickle layer and of the cutis is found.

    Essentials of Diseases of the Skin

    Henry Weightman Stelwagon
  • It bears a round Bur, with a sort of prickle, which is the Seed.

  • The boy was brave, but as he saw that row of fiery orbs he felt his flesh creep and his hair began to prickle.

    The Arkansaw Bear Albert Bigelow Paine
  • But it wasn't the floating mass which drew a gasp from Forrester, and caused Lawton's scalp to prickle.

    The Sky Trap Frank Belknap Long
  • The proof that she could smote suddenly across the ridge of one's spine like the prickle of a mild electric shock.

    Rainy Week Eleanor Hallowell Abbott
  • The sun crept up his leg and his kneecap began to prickle pleasantly under the linen trousers.

    Beginners Luck Emily Hahn
  • The compass was neatly contrived of the cup of an acorn, through the bottom of which ran a hedgehog's prickle.

  • A gasp of amazement, a prickle, a shudder, ran over the skin of that susceptible assembly.

    "Persons Unknown" Virginia Tracy
  • Claire had held one position of thought for so long that it made her hurt and sting and prickle even to think of moving.

    The Girl Scout's Triumph Katherine Keene Galt
British Dictionary definitions for prickle


(botany) a pointed process arising from the outer layer of a stem, leaf, etc, and containing no woody or conducting tissue Compare thorn (sense 1)
a pricking or stinging sensation
to feel or cause to feel a stinging sensation
(transitive) to prick, as with a thorn
Word Origin
Old English pricel; related to Middle Low German prekel, German Prickel
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 prickle

Old English pricel "thing to prick with, goad, point," from the same source as Old English prician (see prick (v.)) with instrumental suffix -el (cf. Middle Low German prickel, Dutch prikkel).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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