[ vahy-bris-uh ]
See synonyms for vibrissa on
noun,plural vi·bris·sae [vahy-bris-ee]. /vaɪˈbrɪs i/.
  1. one of the stiff, bristly hairs growing about the mouth of certain animals, as a whisker of a cat.

  2. one of the long, slender, bristlelike feathers growing along the side of the mouth in many birds.

Origin of vibrissa

First recorded 1685–95; from Late Latin, derivative of Latin vibrāre “to shake”

Other words from vibrissa

  • vi·bris·sal, adjective

Words Nearby vibrissa Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use vibrissa in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for vibrissa


/ (vaɪˈbrɪsə) /

nounplural -sae (-siː) (usually plural)
  1. any of the bristle-like sensitive hairs on the face of many mammals; a whisker

  2. any of the specialized bristle-like feathers around the beak in certain insectivorous birds

Origin of vibrissa

C17: from Latin, probably from vibrāre to shake

Derived forms of vibrissa

  • vibrissal, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for vibrissa


[ vī-brĭsə, və- ]

Plural vibrissae (vī-brĭsē, və-)
  1. 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.

  2. 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.