• WordNet 3.6
    • n vibrissa a long stiff hair growing from the snout or brow of most mammals as e.g. a cat
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Vibrissa (Anat) 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.
    • Vibrissa (Zoöl) The bristlelike feathers near the mouth of many birds.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • vibrissa In mammalogy, one of the long, stiff bristles which grow upon the upper lip and elsewhere upon the head of most mammals; a whisker, as of a cat. They are tactile organs, or feelers, and are sometimes called tactile hairs (pili tactiles). There is a popular notion that the whiskers reach out just far enough on each side to enable the animal to judge whether a hole or other close passage is large enough for it to pass through, and very probably this is true in many cases. See cuts under mouse, ocelot, panther, serval, tiger, and tiger-cat.
    • vibrissa In ornithology, a rictal bristle; one of the special set of long, slender, bristle-like or bristly feathers, devoid of vexilla proper, which grow in a series along each side of the rictus or gape of the mouth of many birds, as flycatchers, goatsuckers, and others. When very long, as in the goatsucker, they are sometimes called vibrissæ pectinatæ, and may have lateral filaments, as in the chuck-will'swidow. The use of the vibrissæ is supposed to be to entangle the legs and wings of insects, and thus diminish or prevent their struggling when caught, as the bristles are observed to be specially well developed in insectivorous birds which take their prey on the wing. See cuts under Platyrhynehus, flycatcher, goatsucker, and whippoorwill.
    • vibrissa In human anatomy, one of the hairs which grow in the nostrils.
    • vibrissa In entomology, one of the projecting lateral bristles on the upper border of the peristomium or mouth-cavity of certain Diptera.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Vibrissa vī-bris′a a whisker, as of a cat: a rictal bristle in birds: bristle, hair, as in the nostril
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
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.]
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L., 'a hair in the nostril.'


In literature:

Facial bristles: Diptera; a series on either side of the middle portion of the face, above the vibrissae, along the facialia.
"Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology" by John. B. Smith
VIBRISSAE, represented by long hairs in the eyebrows, i.
"The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex" by Charles Darwin
The vibrissae are approximately 2 mm.
"Aspects of Reproduction and Development in the Prairie Vole (Microtus ochrogaster)" by Henry S. Fitch
At birth, juveniles are pink, without pelage except for the mystacial vibrissae and a few hairs about the eye.
"Speciation and Evolution of the Pygmy Mice, Genus Baiomys" by Robert L. Packard
Newborn young are pink and hairless except for microscopic vibrissae.
"North American Jumping Mice (Genus Zapus)" by Philip H. Krutzsch

In news:

Neuronal Basis for Object Location in the Vibrissa Scanning Sensorimotor System p455.