• synonyms


[prik-uh l]
See more synonyms for prickle on Thesaurus.com
  1. a sharp point.
  2. a small, pointed process growing from the bark of a plant.
  3. a sharp process or projection, as from the skin of an animal; a spine.
  4. a pricking sensation.
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verb (used with object), prick·led, prick·ling.
  1. to prick lightly.
  2. to cause a pricking or tingling sensation in.
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verb (used without object), prick·led, prick·ling.
  1. to tingle as if pricked.
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Origin of prickle

before 950; Middle English prykel (noun), Old English pricel. See prick, -le
Related formsun·prick·led, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for prickling

Historical Examples

  • There was a prickling at the base of my scalp and I was drenched with cold sweat.

    The Man the Martians Made

    Frank Belknap Long

  • During the night, the fullness, numbness, and prickling were much increased.

  • For a strange nothing had started my neck-hairs to prickling.

  • That instant, wherever the weight of his hand had been, the prickling began.

    The Wonder of War on Land

    Francis Rolt-Wheeler

  • He felt a prickling on the nape of his neck, as the hair stirred there.

    Darkness and Dawn

    George Allan England

British Dictionary definitions for prickling


  1. botany a pointed process arising from the outer layer of a stem, leaf, etc, and containing no woody or conducting tissueCompare thorn (def. 1)
  2. a pricking or stinging sensation
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  1. to feel or cause to feel a stinging sensation
  2. (tr) to prick, as with a thorn
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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

Word Origin and History for prickling



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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper