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

  • adj. Having prickles.
  • adj. Prickling or tingling or smarting: a prickly sensation in my foot.
  • adj. Causing trouble or vexation; thorny: a prickly situation.
  • adj. Bristling or irritable: "In consequence, he became rebarbative, prickly, spitefulā€ ( Robert Craft).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Covered with sharp points.
  • adj. Easily irritated.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Full of sharp points or prickles; armed or covered with prickles.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Full of sharp points or prickles; armed with prickles: as, a prickly shrub.
  • Pricking or stinging; noting the sensation of being pricked or stung.

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

  • adj. very irritable
  • adj. having or covered with protective barbs or quills or spines or thorns or setae etc.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • "Name a shrub after me. Something prickly and hard to eradicate." --Captain Aubrey, "Master and Commander"

    February 21, 2007