a. A small hard pointed outgrowth of the epidermis of a plant, in contrast to a modified plant organ such as a spine or thorn.
b. A spine, thorn, or other small sharp structure.
2. A tingling or pricking sensation: felt prickles in my leg after sitting for so long.
v. prick·led, prick·ling, prick·les
1. To feel a tingling or pricking sensation: His skin prickled with fear.
2. To rise or stand up like prickles: The hair on my neck prickled.
To cause a tingling or pricking sensation in: Tears prickled my eyes.
[Middle English prikel, from Old English pricel.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.