- a comblike instrument for separating the fibers of flax, hemp, etc.
- any of the long, slender feathers at the neck of a rooster, peacock, pigeon, etc.
- such feathers, collectively
- a tuft of feathers from a rooster's neck, used in making artificial flies
- a fly made with a hackle
- the hairs on a dog's neck and back that bristle, as when the dog is ready to fight
Origin of hackleMiddle English hechele (akin to German hechel) ; from Old English an unverified form hæcel ; from Indo-European base an unverified form keg-, a peg, hook from source hack, hook: senses 2, 3, and amp; 4, probably influenced, influence by dialect, dialectal hackle, bird's plumage, animal's skin ; from Old English hacele
- to separate the fibers of (flax, hemp, etc.) with a hackle
- Rare to supply (a fishing fly) with a hackle
get one's hackles up
Origin of hacklefrequentative of hack
- Any of the long, slender, often glossy feathers on the neck of a bird, especially a male fowl.
- hackles The erectile hairs along the back of the neck of an animal, especially of a dog.
- A feather, usually from the neck of a chicken, used in trimming a fishing fly.
transitive verbhack·led, hack·ling, hack·les
Origin of hackleMiddle English hakell, cloak, skin, plumage, possibly from Old English hacele, cloak, mantle.
verbhack·led, hack·ling, hack·les
Origin of hackleFrequentative of hack1.
- An instrument with steel pins used to comb out flax or hemp. [from 15th c.]
- (usually now in the plural) One of the long, narrow feathers on the neck of birds, most noticeable on the cock. [from 15th c.]
- (fishing) A feather used to make a fishing lure or a fishing lure incorporating a feather. [from 17th c.]
- (usually now in the plural) By extension (because the hackles of a cock are lifted when it is angry), the hair on the nape of the neck in dogs and other animals; also used figuratively for humans. [from 19th c.]
Old English *hacule, *hecile, from Proto-Germanic *hakilā. Cognate with Dutch hekel, German Hechel.