Definition of vibrissae in English:


plural noun

  • 1Long stiff hairs growing around the mouth or elsewhere on the face of many mammals, used as organs of touch; whiskers.

    • ‘Rather, they find food via the sensitive touch of their 600 to 700 vibrissae, or whiskers, which have been likened to multifingered hands on the animals' snouts.’
    • ‘They also have large vibrissae, stiff whisker-like hairs above the upper lip and at the corners of the mouth.’
    • ‘They use their vibrissae as sensing organs underwater to monitor the movements of fishes and other prey.’
    • ‘Whiskers, also known as vibrissae are touch receptors that provide the animal with information about its immediate surroundings.’
    • ‘Another notable mode of sensation in cats are whiskers, or vibrissae.’
    1. 1.1Ornithology Coarse bristle-like feathers growing around the gape of certain insectivorous birds that catch insects in flight.
      plume, quill
      View synonyms


Late 17th century: from Latin, literally ‘nostril hairs’.