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Any of various small freshwater and marine fishes of the family Gasterosteidae, having erectile spines along the back.
(Animals) any small teleost fish of the family Gasterosteidae, such as Gasterosteus aculeatus (three-spined stickleback) of rivers and coastal regions and G. pungitius (ten-spined stickleback) confined to rivers. They have a series of spines along the back and occur in cold and temperate northern regions
[C15: from Old English stickel prick, sting + back1]
any of the small, pugnacious, spiny-backed fish of the family Gasterosteidae, inhabiting northern fresh waters and sea inlets.
[1400–50; late Middle English stykylbak= Old English sticels goad, thorn (c. Old High German stihhil goad, Old Norse stikill point of a horn) + bæc back1]
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|Noun||1.||stickleback - small (2-4 inches) pugnacious mostly scaleless spiny-backed fishes of northern fresh and littoral waters having elaborate courtship; subjects of much research|