American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of various small freshwater and marine fishes of the family Gasterosteidae, having erectile spines along the back.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Any fish of the family Gasterosteidæ: so called from the sharp spines of the back. They are small fishes, a few inches long, of 5 genera, Gasterosteus, Pygosteus, Eucalia, Apeltes, and Spinachia. but very pugnacious and rapacious, being especially destructive to the spawn and fry of many larger fishes. They inhabit fresh waters and sea-arms of northern Europe, Asia, and North America to the number of nearly 20 species. The common two- or three-spined stickleback, banstickle, burnstickle, or tittlebat, is G. aculeatus, 4 inches long. Another is the nine-or ten-spined, Pygosteus pungitius. The fifteen-spined stickleback, or sea-stickleback, is Spinachia vulgaris, of the northerly coasts of Europe, a marine species, from 5 to 7 inches long, of very slender elongate form, with a tubular snout. They are among the most characteristic fishes of the northern hemisphere in the colder regions. Except in the breeding-season, they live in shoals, and are sometimes numerous enough to become of commercial value for their oil or for manure. They are noted for the construction of elaborate nests which the male builds for the eggs, in which several females often or generally deposit their burden. The eggs are comparatively few, and while being hatched are assiduously guarded by the male. The local or popular synonyms of the sticklebacks are numerous, among them prickleback, sprickleback, stickling, and sharpling.
- n. Any one of numerous species of small fishes of the genus Gasterosteus and allied genera. The back is armed with two or more sharp spines. They inhabit both salt and brackish water, and construct curious nests.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of small fishes of the genus Gasterosteus and allied genera. The back is armed with two or more sharp spines. They inhabit both salt and brackish water, and construct curious nests. Called also
sticklebag, sharpling, and prickleback.
- n. small (2-4 inches) pugnacious mostly scaleless spiny-backed fishes of northern fresh and littoral waters having elaborate courtship; subjects of much research
- Old English and dialect stickle a prickle, spine, sting (Anglo-Saxon sticel) + back. See stick (transitive verb) and compare banstickle. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English stikelbak : Old English sticel, prick; see steig- in Indo-European roots + Middle English bak, back; see back1. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“On the crest of a cross-grained stickleback, that is caught with a crooked pin;”
“One wife, however, does not suffice to fill the nest with eggs; and the stickleback is a firm believer in the advantages of large families.”
“For, like almost all polygamists, your stickleback is a terrible fighter.”
“The money came from the proceeds of a special experiment devised by Manfred Milinski, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, a connoisseur of food and fine wine, a zoologist and naturalist who feels equally at home with people and stickleback fish, as we saw in chapter 1.”
“A real-life example of such a contest was reported in 1987, when Manfred Milinski, now the director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Ploen, Germany, studied the behavior of stickleback fish.”
“Milinski found that stickleback fish rely on the Tit-for-Tat strategy during this risky maneuver.”
“Yet each little fish has an understandable incentive to hang back a little and let the other stickleback soak up more of the risk.”
“When held in the right place, it could create the illusion that a single stickleback was accompanied by another scout.”
“A kingfisher, an airborne jewel, whirrs past, stickleback in its beak, and disappears into a thicket of riparian willow.”
“A kingfisher, an airborne jewel, whirrs past, stickleback in its beak.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘stickleback’.
Compound adjectives - based on the FAO ASFIS list of waterborne species.
lots and lots of fish, a piscatorial
Inspired by madmouth's Ugh! list.
Words that have been smashed together.
Words for things both tangible and nonanthropic
Words and phrases from Jonathan Stroud's book, Ptolemy's Gate.
Words I've come across while reading and looked up in the dictionary.
Hopefully, I'll be using this site for more than one year. It will be fun then to look back and see what new words I found worthy of notice in any given year.
All words spotted in 2008...
being sorts of Fish
Looking for tweets for stickleback.