One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1hacklesErectile hairs along an animal's back, which rise when it is angry or alarmed.‘the dog continued to growl, its hackles raised’
- ‘The dog stared, ears flattening, and she saw his hackles rise along his spine.’
- ‘A pack of wolves, fifty at least, were coming toward her, hackles raised, teeth bared, snarling.’
- ‘Bowering's hackles rise and then just as quickly fall again.’
- ‘Black throat-feathers bristled like the hackles of an angered wolf, while its dark eyes were set off by striking ‘eyebrows’ - wattles of vivid red flesh.’
- ‘He saw his snarling muzzle clamped tight, saw bristling hackles and a bright amber eye wide with terror - just as something struck him.’
- ‘Next to me, I could almost feel Cale's hackles rising in defiance and uneasiness, much like a cornered dog about to make a break for it between the gaps in the ring of its attackers.’
- ‘The smell conjured up terrible, dog-like images of danger and violence, and the hackles on the tomcat's neck stood at attention.’
- ‘His hackles rising, he switched into ‘protector’ mode.’
- ‘Her eyes practically exploded with flames and her hair rose a little, like a dog rising its hackles.’
- ‘Lee's hackles rose, his ears flattened, and a low growl began deep in his chest.’
- ‘It bared its teeth, hackles bristling, and snarled.’
- ‘Its hackles raised and its teeth bared ferociously; she was scared.’
- ‘Sekher felt his hackles rise, claws extruded in fear.’
- ‘The boar saw the sword and his hackles rose; the hunters feared for their lord's life.’
- ‘With malevolent eye highlighted in red and throat feathers raised like the hackles of a dog, he was distinctly intimidating.’
- ‘Bebe puffed up her little body, her short fur trying to ridge along her back into hackles, her bared fangs at Daisy's throat.’
- ‘The dogs growled and slowed, their hackles rising.’
- ‘Isabella's hackles rose, immediately running to my defense.’
- ‘Their thick hackles rose and their lips curled back into snarls as they spotted the two.’
2A long, narrow feather on the neck or saddle of a domestic cock or other bird.
- ‘Another distinct bird is the Nicobar pigeon with its metallic green hackles and sheen on its plumage.’
- ‘Even before they hit the ground both birds fan their hackles out, resembling nothing so much as a suddenly opened umbrella.’
- 2.1Fishing A feather wound around a fishing fly so that its filaments are splayed out.
- ‘I clip off all the bottom and top hackles leaving the side hackles to ensure the fly sits in the surface film.’
- ‘Take ribbing wire through the hackle again in open’
- ‘Wind the hackle evenly down the body to the tail.’
- ‘Wind on the hackle for three turns towards the eye.’
- ‘Different coloured hackle fibres for tail and throat hackles can work well.’
- 2.2mass noun Fly-fishing feathers collectively.‘raising birds for hackle’
- ‘One of the eyes was seated a bit crooked and the tuft of hackle was a tad twisted, but the overall result looked pretty good, especially after several additional sips of aged rum.’
- ‘I believe that the palmered body hackle causes a disturbance in the water and this is an attraction itself.’
- ‘He casts the royal coachman - white wings and russet hackle, pheasant tippits and peacock herl - to feign the nymph and summon rainbows from a shadow world.’
- ‘At the front I use two or three strands of three inches of round rubber hackle.’
- ‘Twist peacock herl ends and wind on in front of hackle to form a neat head.’
- 2.3 A bunch of feathers in a military headdress, for example of a regiment of fusiliers or the Black Watch.
- ‘Down the main street strides the major of the army, an icy wind pulling at the red hackle on his bonnet.’
- ‘A soldier with 16 years' experience warned that there would be a mutiny if the symbolic red hackle was dropped as part of the regimental restructuring.’
- ‘Faced with the famous red hackles of the the organization, they dropped their bags and applauded.’
- ‘He will attempt to claim credit for preserving individual regimental identities within the new Scottish regiment by keeping their traditional cap badges, hackles and other distinctive traditions.’
3A steel comb for dressing flax.
Dress or comb (flax) with a hackle.‘taking each section separately the student should lightly hackle the extreme ends’
separate, dress, card, tease, heckle, hatchelView synonyms
- ‘Then the stems were hackled (from the Old High German word that also gave us hook) to remove any remaining non-fibrous material by drawing them through a big comb consisting of a bed of nails in a wooden board.’
- ‘Spinning wheels lined the walls and at the central tables others sorted, hackled and carded the wool.’
- ‘In August we shall keep many people busy with retting and hackling, and by late September have much linen thread to spin.’
make someone's hackles rise
Make someone angry or indignant.
annoy, irritate, exasperate, anger, irk, vex, put out, nettle, provoke, incense, gall, rile, infuriate, antagonize, get on someone's nerves, rub up the wrong way, make someone's blood boil, ruffle someone's feathers, ruffle, try someone's patienceView synonyms
- ‘I knew it was a grin, but the bared teeth still made my hackles rise.’
- ‘The sudden picture of Bruce sitting so close to her, hands clasped, made his hackles rise.’
- ‘The sound of footsteps behind him made his hackles rise.’
- ‘Why, it makes my hackles rise in self-righteous horror!’
- ‘As nondescript and unassuming as he seemed, his mere presence made my hackles rise.’
Late Middle English (in hackle (sense 2 of the noun)): variant of hatchel.
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