[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 whisker boom, whisker pole. 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.
  1. by a whisker, by the narrowest margin: She won the race by a whisker.

Origin of whisker

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at whisk, -er1
Related formswhisk·er·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for whiskery

Historical Examples of whiskery

  • And I was so deeply absorbed with the idea that I did not at first see the whiskery old man who was coming my way in a farm wagon.

  • Hoddan astonishedly regarded his whiskery countenance, contorted with grief and dampened with tears.

    The Pirates of Ersatz

    Murray Leinster

British Dictionary definitions for whiskery


adjective -skerier or -skeriest
  1. having whiskers
  2. old; unkempt


  1. any of the stiff sensory hairs growing on the face of a cat, rat, or other mammalTechnical name: vibrissa
  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. (plural) informal a moustache
  5. Also called: whisker boom, whisker 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 distancehe escaped death by a whisker
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 whiskery



"hair of a man's face" (usually plural), c.1600, originally a playful formation, from Middle English wisker "anything that whisks or sweeps" (early 15c.); see whisk (v.). In reference to animal lip hair, recorded from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with whiskery


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

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