- one of the stiff, bristly hairs growing about the mouth of certain animals, as a whisker of a cat.
- one of the long, slender, bristlelike feathers growing along the side of the mouth in many birds.
Origin of vibrissa
1685–95; < Medieval Latin, derivative of Latin vibrāre to shake
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for vibrissa
A bristle (vibrissa) on each side of the face near the margin of the mouth.Handbook of Medical Entomology
William Albert Riley
- any of the bristle-like sensitive hairs on the face of many mammals; a whisker
- any of the specialized bristle-like feathers around the beak in certain insectivorous birds
C17: from Latin, probably from vibrāre to shake
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 vibrissa
plural vibrissae, 1690s, from Latin vibrissa, akin to vibrare "to vibrate" (see vibrate).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Any of the hairs growing at the anterior nares.
- Any of the long, stiff hairs projecting from the anterior nares of most mammals, as cat whiskers.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Any of the long, stiff, bristlelike hairs that project from the snout or brow of most mammals, as the whiskers of a cat or rat. Vibrissae often serve as tactile organs, especially in nocturnal animals and marine mammals such as seals and manatees.
- Any of several long modified feathers that grow along the sides of the beak of certain birds and help trap insects caught in flight.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.