Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1600-1700
Origin: whiskers 'mustache' (16-20 centuries), from whisker 'something that whisks or sweeps' (15-19 centuries), from whisk; because the mustache looks like a small brush

whisker

noun
     
Related topics: Hair and Beauty, Animals
whis‧ker [countable]
1HBA [usually plural] one of the long stiff hairs that grow near the mouth of a cat, mouse etc
2 [usually plural]DCB one of the hairs that grow on a man's face
3

win/lose by a whisker

informal to win or lose by a very small amount:
Schmidt finished second, losing by a whisker in the final event.
4

come within a whisker (of doing) something

to almost succeed or fail at doing something:
Doctors say he came within a whisker of dying on the operating table.

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