hatchel vs heckle what difference

what is difference between hatchel and heckle


Alternative forms

  • hackle
  • heckle


From Middle English hechele, of West Germanic origin, related to the root of hook. Compare hackle.


  • Rhymes: -ætʃəl


hatchel (plural hatchels)

  1. A comb used to separate flax fibers.
    • 1864, George Ripley and Charles Anderson Dana [eds.], The New American Cyclopædia: A Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge VII: “Edward–Fueros” (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 443 & 445 Broadway; London: 16 Little Britain), ‘Flax’, page 554
      One end of the bundle being hatchelled, it is turned round, and the other is treated in the same way; and the process is repeated on finer hatchels.


hatchel (third-person singular simple present hatchels, present participle hatchelling or hatcheling, simple past and past participle hatchelled or hatcheled)

  1. (transitive) To separate (flax fibers) with a hatchel, or comb.



Transferred usage of Middle English hekelen (to comb flax or hemp with a heckle), from hekele (a comb for flax or hemp), from Middle Dutch hekelen (to prickle, irritate), from Proto-Germanic *hakilōną, related to *hakô (hook). Related to hackle.


  • IPA(key): /ˈhɛkəl/
  • Rhymes: -ɛkəl


heckle (third-person singular simple present heckles, present participle heckling, simple past and past participle heckled)

  1. (transitive) To question harshly in an attempt to find or reveal weaknesses. [from later 18th c.]
  2. (transitive) To insult, tease, make fun of or badger.
    Promise that you won’t heckle me after my performance.
  3. (textiles) To prepare flax for spinning using special combs called hackles


(prepare flax for spinning): hackle

Related terms

  • heckler
  • heckling



heckle (plural heckles)

  1. Alternative form of hackle (tool for separating flax)
  2. The long shining feathers on a cock’s neck.
  3. A feather ornament in the full-dress bonnets of Highland regiments.


  • Heckel

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