[prik-uh l]


verb (used with object), prick·led, prick·ling.

to prick lightly.
to cause a pricking or tingling sensation in.

verb (used without object), prick·led, prick·ling.

to tingle as if pricked.

Origin of prickle

before 950; Middle English prykel (noun), Old English pricel. See prick, -le
Related formsun·prick·led, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for prickle

point, spine, thorn, sensation, barb, bristle, spike, chill, spiculum

Examples from the Web for prickle

Historical Examples of prickle

  • 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

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 tissueCompare thorn (def. 1)
a pricking or stinging sensation


to feel or cause to feel a stinging sensation
(tr) to prick, as with a thorn

Word Origin for prickle

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

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