View synonyms for whisker


[ hwis-ker, wis- ]


  1. whiskers, a beard.
  2. Usually whiskers. side whiskers.
  3. a single hair of the beard.
  4. Archaic. a mustache.
  5. one of the long, stiff, bristly hairs growing about the mouth of certain animals, as the cat or rat; vibrissa.
  6. Also called whisker boom,. Nautical. any spar for extending the clew or clews of a sail so that it can catch more wind.
  7. Radio, Electronics. cat whisker.
  8. Crystallography. a thin filament of a crystal, usually several millimeters long and one to two microns in diameter, having unusually great strength.


/ ˈwɪskə /


  1. any of the stiff sensory hairs growing on the face of a cat, rat, or other mammal Technical namevibrissa
  2. any of the hairs growing on a person's face, esp on the cheeks or chin
  3. plural a beard or that part of it growing on the sides of the face
  4. informal.
    plural a moustache
  5. Also calledwhisker boomwhisker pole any light spar used for extending the clews of a sail, esp in light airs
  6. chem a very fine filamentary crystal having greater strength than the bulk material since it is a single crystal. Such crystals often show unusual electrical properties
  7. a person or thing that whisks
  8. a narrow margin; a small distance

    he escaped death by a whisker

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Other Words From

  • whisker·y adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of whisker1

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; whisk, -er 1

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. by a whisker, by the narrowest margin:

    She won the race by a whisker.

More idioms and phrases containing whisker

see by a hair (whisker) ; win by a nose (whisker) .

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Example Sentences

The best beard conditioner will soften the whiskers and make them easier to style and manage.

By repeating this pattern, they dampened the whisker-neuron connection, making the cell less likely to respond to whisker movements.

The resulting ice whiskers were a few micrometers in diameter or less, a fraction of the width of a typical human hair.

Such work could one day enable scientists to build artificial whiskers as tactile sensors in robotics as well as shed further light on human touch.

Now an interdisciplinary team at Northwestern University has come up with a new model to help predict how a rat's whiskers activate different sensory cells to do just that, according to a new paper published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.

Not anymore: A Rasmussen poll out last week now shows Pryor ahead by a whisker, and the race is now essentially a tie.

Some taxidermists actually remove and reinsert each whisker individually by hand to support their biological narrative.

Todd made a $2,000 donation to charity and kept the goatee by a whisker.

She went quickly through the drawing-room door into the house, leaving Jaffery still scratching a red whisker.

He had neither whisker nor moustache, which allowed the soft curves of the lower part of his face to be apparent.

She gathered the three remaining ones together, and fed them and licked them all over tenderly with soft whisker kisses.

The fact, however, was that no whisker could be made to come sufficiently forward to be of service, and therefore he wore none.

This officer's face was a whisker plantation, through which his eyes peeped forth like two snakes coiled up in a window-brush.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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