- 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
- [pl.] 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 4, probably influenced, influence by dialect, dialectal hackle, bird's plumage, animal's skin from Old English hacele
transitive verb-·led, -·ling
- 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
intransitive verb-·led, -·ling
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 hack 1
- 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.