stickleback

[ stik-uh l-bak ]
/ ˈstɪk əlˌbæk /

noun

any of the small, pugnacious, spiny-backed fishes of the family Gasterosteidae, inhabiting northern fresh waters and sea inlets, the male of which builds and guards the nest.

Origin of stickleback

1400–50; late Middle English stykylbak, equivalent to Old English sticol scaly + bæc back1
Also called prickleback.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stickleback

British Dictionary definitions for stickleback

stickleback
/ (ˈstɪkəlˌbæk) /

noun

any small teleost fish of the family Gasterosteidae, such as Gasterosteus aculeatus (three-spined stickleback) of rivers and coastal regions and G. pungitius (ten-spined stickleback) confined to rivers. They have a series of spines along the back and occur in cold and temperate northern regions

Word Origin for stickleback

C15: from Old English stickel prick, sting + back 1
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