Meaning of barbule in English:


Pronunciation /ˈbɑːbjuːl/


  • A minute filament projecting from the barb of a feather.

    ‘Well known examples include the structural colors produced by brilliant iridescent butterfly wing scales and avian feather barbules, such as the peacocks tail.’
    • ‘The strongly iridescent colors of bird feathers are produced by arrays of melanin granules in the barbules of feathers.’
    • ‘The barbs, in turn, may bear barbules which may hook on to the barbules of an adjoining barb.’
    • ‘In contrast, a flight feather has narrow barbules which do not cover the barbs.’
    • ‘Feathers, however bizarre or morphologically complex, consist essentially of a rachis, barbs, and barbules.’
    • ‘The barbules are the tiny feather tip structures that come off of barbs on either side of the central stem of peacock feathers.’
    • ‘A few species of hummingbirds and European Starling are known to produce UV hues with coherently scattering melanin arrays in feather barbules.’
    • ‘Increased plumage abrasion caused by a higher rate of preening could break feather barbules, leading to a reduction in plumage condition.’
    • ‘But scales are folds in skin; feathers are complex structures with a barb, barbules and hooks.’
    • ‘Bird feathers illustrate optimum design, with their interlocking barbs and barbules resulting in a strong yet extremely light structure.’
    • ‘I think they would have barbules without projections.’
    • ‘It has been my impression that the mechanism whereby the barb ridges separate from one another and sculpt out the barbules, probably involves many sequential changes.’
    • ‘The vanes have parallel barbs, which suggests the presence of barbules.’
    • ‘Modern feathers evolved through the stages involving elongated scales that became broken up into barbs and barbules.’
    • ‘Accordingly, even though birds without uropygial glands preened at the same rate as birds with glands, the former may have suffered more breakage of feather barbules.’
    • ‘The interlocking hooks and barbules allow the feather to be ‘reset’ by the bird's preening action.’
    • ‘Well defined, functional barbules are absent.’
    • ‘Plumage of glandless birds was in significantly poorer condition, with more missing barbules, than the plumage of control birds with glands.’
    • ‘Downy barbs that were initially sampled from the base of these feathers had microscopic characters that consisted of very long barbules.’


Mid 19th century from Latin barbula, diminutive of barba ‘beard’.