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What do I call this?

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Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:48 pm
Dynamo says...



The story I'm writing has lots of dragons in it, and one kind has these sort of whiskers that looks sort of like a Fu Manchu mustache. Here's a picture that better illustrates what I mean:
Image

My question is, what exactly are those things called? I can't call them whiskers because my readers will think of the kind of whiskers cats have and these ones aren't made of hair but rather are part of the rest of the dragon's face. Does anyone have any good ideas on what I could call these facial appendages?
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Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:51 pm
SubjectBlue says...



Tentacles, maybe?
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Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:06 pm
Kyllorac says...



I vote against tentacles. Brings some rather awkward mental images to mind.

Feelers might work.
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Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:25 pm
Dynamo says...



I like feelers, but I feel it's still not quite the word I'm looking for. Does anyone know any real life reptiles that have the same kind of feelers on their faces?
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Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:40 pm
SubjectBlue says...



Barbels.
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Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:19 pm
Dynamo says...



Thanks.

I guess I'll just call them whiskerlike appendages and see how that goes. Worst case scenario I'll just end up changing it later. Thanks for your help guys.
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:41 am
Dethl says...



You can call it "Vibrissa" which means whisker. What I do to find good names for stuff like this is to use the original word in a different language.

Whiskers in different languages:
-Knurhår (Danish)
-Snorhaar(Dutch)
-Morrhar(Swedish)




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Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:52 pm
Dynamo says...



The only problem with that is that most of my readers won't know what the heck I'm talking about. If I have the choice between an accurate term and one that my readers would understand more, I'd take the latter.
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Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:03 am
Ranger Hawk says...



You could easily call them whiskers or something like that, and go on to specify just what they look like on a dragon, so the reader knows that they're not like cat whiskers. Make the term your own in this specific sense.
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Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:12 pm
Francis Michael Buck says...



I'd definitely just go with whiskers, but then describe what they actually look like as well. As long your description is competent, no one is going to assume they're just cat whiskers.
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Sun Aug 14, 2011 3:12 pm
McMourning says...



Dynamo wrote: Does anyone know any real life reptiles that have the same kind of feelers on their faces?


I don't know about reptiles, but fish have them. They're called barbels, as SubjectBlue said.
I guess that's not really common knowledge, though. To be clear to the reader, you could describe them as whisker-like appendages made out of the dragon's leathery skin rather than hair.
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