1. <anatomy> One of the specialized or tactile hairs which grow about the nostrils, or on other parts of the face, in many animals, as the so-called whiskers of the cat, and the hairs of the nostrils of man.

2. <ornithology> The bristlelike feathers near the mouth of many birds.

Origin: L. Vibrissae, pl, the hairs in the nostrils of man, fr. Vibrare to vibrate; so called because touching them tickles a person, and causes him to shake his head.

(01 Mar 1998)