Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



A person horripilating, or having goose bumps, due to a cool breeze
A cat horripilating because of a fear of heights

From Late Latin horripilātus, past participle of horripilāre (of hairs: to bristle), from horrēre, present infinitive of horreō (to stand on end; to shiver, tremble; to be afraid of, dread) (from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰers- (to bristle)) + pilus (hair) (from Proto-Indo-European *pil- (strand of hair)).[1]



horripilate (third-person singular simple present horripilates, present participle horripilating, simple past and past participle horripilated)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To bristle in fear or horror; to have goose bumps or goose pimples. [from 1620s]
    • 1859 February 12, “Ghosts and Family Legends. By Mrs. Crowe, Authoress of the ‘Night Side of Nature.’ (Newby.)”, in The Literary Gazette: A Weekly Journal of Literature, Science, Art, and General Information, volume II, number 33 (New Series), London: Published at the office, 4, Bouverie Street, Fleet Street, OCLC 698853178, page 206, column 3:
      Another volume of ghost stories by Mrs. [Catherine] Crowe!—as grim and horrifying as the "Night Side of Nature," which sends one to bed with a shudder, and lends an awful deliberation to the act of putting out the candle. These pages would literally be frightful if they were not at the same time fascinating. You never know at what turn in the narrative to look for the sudden bit of description, which is to thrill the nerves and horripilate the forehead.
    • 1979, Trevanian [pseudonym; Rodney William Whitaker], Shibumi, New York, N.Y.: Crown Publishers, →ISBN; republished as Shibumi: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Three Rivers Press, 2005, →ISBN, page 330:
      When Hel shrugged and changed the subject diplomatically, the nape of Diamond's neck horripilated with embarrassment.
    • 1998, Richard Dooling, chapter 26, in Brain Storm, New York, N.Y.: Random House, →ISBN:
      A cold wind had blown through his seven-year-old skin, bringing with it the age of reason, thrilling his bones, horripilating its way up his spine.
    • 1998, James Kaplan, chapter 17, in Two Guys from Verona: A Novel of Suburbia, New York, N.Y.: Grove Press, →ISBN, pages 155–156:
      Miraculously, when he returned, [] no one had stolen, broken into, or vandalized the Saab: there it sat in all its silver magnificence on a lousy street in a rotten neighborhood, rainwater horripilating its voluptuous skin.
    • 2005, Kurtis R. Schaeffer, “Creating the Treasury of Dohā Verses”, in Dreaming the Great Brahmin: Tibetan Traditions of the Buddhist Poet-Saint Saraha, New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 91:
      Phadampa Sangye gives us a brief characterization of the cremation grounds and the lands surrounding them in the introductory passage to Diamond-Songs of the Adepts, calling it "a region difficult for humans to travel, a village where ghouls and zombies wander, a place where the inhuman of the earth wander, the place of the action ḍākinīs, [where] Death's hair horripilates and the demons are dread-filled upon sight of it."


Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ horripilation” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020, retrieved 25 July 2017.

Further reading[edit]