Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of the long, slender, often glossy feathers on the neck of a bird, especially a male domestic fowl.
  • n. The erectile hairs along the back of the neck of an animal, especially of a dog.
  • n. A tuft of cock feathers trimming an artificial fishing fly.
  • n. A hackle fly.
  • transitive v. To trim (an artificial fishing fly) with a hackle.
  • idiom get (one's) hackles up To be extremely insulted or irritated.
  • transitive v. To chop roughly; mangle by hacking.
  • intransitive v. To hack.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A feather plume on some soldier's uniforms, especially the hat or helmet.
  • v. To separate, as the coarse part of flax or hemp from the fine, by drawing it through the teeth of a hackle or hatchel.
  • v. To tear asunder; to break into pieces.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A comb for dressing flax, raw silk, etc.; a hatchel.
  • n. Any flimsy substance unspun, as raw silk.
  • n. One of the peculiar, long, narrow feathers on the neck of fowls, most noticeable on the cock, -- often used in making artificial flies; hence, any feather so used.
  • n. An artificial fly for angling, made of feathers.
  • transitive v. To separate, as the coarse part of flax or hemp from the fine, by drawing it through the teeth of a hackle or hatchel.
  • transitive v. To tear asunder; to break in pieces.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To hack roughly; haggle. See haggle.
  • To comb, as flax or hemp: same as heckle.
  • To tear asunder.
  • In angling, to dress (an artificial fly) with hackle.
  • n. A conical covering of straw or hay, such as is used to thatch a beehive.
  • n. A comb for dressing flax: same as heckle, 1.
  • n. Any flimsy substance unspun, as raw silk.
  • n. One of the long slender feathers from the neck or saddle of the domestic cock, much used by anglers for making artificial flies.
  • n. An artificial fly made without wings to represent a caterpillar or other larva, or the larva-like body of a winged fly; a palmer.
  • n. In heraldry, same as bray, 2 .
  • n. One of the long hairs which, when erected, form a crest along the neck and back of a dog.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. comb with a heckle
  • n. long slender feather on the necks of e.g. turkeys and pheasants

Etymologies

Middle English hakell, cloak, skin, plumage, possibly from Old English hacele, cloak, mantle.
Frequentative of hack1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English *hacule, *hecile, from Proto-Germanic *hakilā. Cognate with Dutch hekel, German Hechel. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • I am amazed to learn (thanks to hernesheir) that hackle can be a verb (apparently the frequentative form of hack). I suppose that’s what hackers do all day.

    September 28, 2011

  • to stick one's neck out with resolution, perhaps

    January 18, 2011

  • Used in decoration such as hats, fans, ect.

    September 19, 2008

  • get one's hackles up = anger, esp. when aroused in a challenging or challenged manner

    July 21, 2008