vi|bris|sa «vy BRIHS uh», noun, plural -bris|sae «-BRIHS ee».
1. Anatomy. a hair growing in a nostril.
2. Zoology. one of the long, bristlelike, tactile organs growing upon the upper lip and elsewhere on the head of most mammals; a whisker, as of a mouse.
3. Zoology. one of the special set of long, slender, bristlelike feathers that grow in a series along each side of the rictus (gape of the mouth) of many birds, such as flycatchers and goatsuckers. The vibrissae entangle the legs and wings of insects, and thus diminish or prevent their struggling when caught.
[< Late Latin vibrissae, plural < Latin vibrāre to vibrate]

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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