Etymology
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stickleback (n.)

c. 1400, from Old English sticel "prick, sting, goad, thorn" (from Proto-Germanic *stik- "pierce, prick, be sharp;" see stick (v.)) + back (n.).

updated on November 30, 2013

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Definitions of stickleback from WordNet

stickleback (n.)
small (2-4 inches) pugnacious mostly scaleless spiny-backed fishes of northern fresh and littoral waters having elaborate courtship; subjects of much research;
Synonyms: prickleback
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.