Definition of hackle in English:

hackle

noun

  • 1hacklesErectile hairs along an animal's back, which rise when it is angry or alarmed.

    ‘the dog continued to growl, its hackles raised’
    • ‘It bared its teeth, hackles bristling, and snarled.’
    • ‘He saw his snarling muzzle clamped tight, saw bristling hackles and a bright amber eye wide with terror - just as something struck him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The boar saw the sword and his hackles rose; the hunters feared for their lord's life.’
    • ‘Her eyes practically exploded with flames and her hair rose a little, like a dog rising its hackles.’
    • ‘Their thick hackles rose and their lips curled back into snarls as they spotted the two.’
    • ‘The smell conjured up terrible, dog-like images of danger and violence, and the hackles on the tomcat's neck stood at attention.’
    • ‘The dog stared, ears flattening, and she saw his hackles rise along his spine.’
    • ‘His hackles rising, he switched into ‘protector’ mode.’
    • ‘A pack of wolves, fifty at least, were coming toward her, hackles raised, teeth bared, snarling.’
    • ‘With malevolent eye highlighted in red and throat feathers raised like the hackles of a dog, he was distinctly intimidating.’
    • ‘The dogs growled and slowed, their hackles rising.’
    • ‘Bebe puffed up her little body, her short fur trying to ridge along her back into hackles, her bared fangs at Daisy's throat.’
    • ‘Lee's hackles rose, his ears flattened, and a low growl began deep in his chest.’
    • ‘Bowering's hackles rise and then just as quickly fall again.’
    • ‘Isabella's hackles rose, immediately running to my defense.’
    • ‘Its hackles raised and its teeth bared ferociously; she was scared.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sekher felt his hackles rise, claws extruded in fear.’
  • 2A long, narrow feather on the neck or saddle of a domestic cock or other bird.

    • ‘Even before they hit the ground both birds fan their hackles out, resembling nothing so much as a suddenly opened umbrella.’
    • ‘Another distinct bird is the Nicobar pigeon with its metallic green hackles and sheen on its plumage.’
    1. 2.1Fishing A feather wound around a fishing fly so that its filaments are splayed out.
      • ‘Wind the hackle evenly down the body to the tail.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Different coloured hackle fibres for tail and throat hackles can work well.’
      • ‘Wind on the hackle for three turns towards the eye.’
    2. 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.’
      • ‘Twist peacock herl ends and wind on in front of hackle to form a neat head.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 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.’
      • ‘Faced with the famous red hackles of the the organization, they dropped their bags and applauded.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.

verb

[with object]
  • Dress or comb (flax) with a hackle.

    ‘taking each section separately the student should lightly hackle the extreme ends’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    separate, dress, card, tease, heckle, hatchel
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Phrases

  • make someone's hackles rise

    • Make someone angry or indignant.

      • ‘Why, it makes my hackles rise in self-righteous horror!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As nondescript and unassuming as he seemed, his mere presence made my hackles rise.’
      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 patience
      View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English (in hackle (sense 2 of the noun)): variant of hatchel.

Pronunciation

hackle

/ˈhak(ə)l/