Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
Related to gooseflesh: piloerection


temporary rumpling of the skin into tiny bumps, also called goose bumps and goose pimples, and technically known as cutis ansirina. In response to cold or certain emotional states, such as fear or rage, the smooth muscles of the subsurface layer (dermis) of skin tend to contract, causing the skin to pucker and body hair to stand erect. In furred animals this can serve a dual purpose. Erection of the fur may make an animal seem larger than it actually is and act to frighten away a potential aggressor. Second, the erect fur traps a blanket of air close to the skin thus providing the organism with additional insulation against loss of body heat. In humans, this response would seem to be vestigial.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a change in the skin manifested by the appearance of tiny nodules, so that the skin resembles that of a plucked goose.

Gooseflesh is caused by cold and mental agitation (for example, fear), which result in the contraction of the minute muscles that raise the hair. Gooseflesh can be a form of keratosis, lichen pilaris, a developmental anomaly of the hair bulbs, or vitamin A deficiency. It appears in children from the ages of two to five mostly on the extensor surfaces of the limbs, intensifies at puberty, and smooths out after a number of years. Treatment of the condition involves softening and removal of the horny layers and a diet rich in vitamin A, or administration of a preparation containing the vitamin.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Shortly after midnight, a mighty ghost appeared and spoke to him in a thunderous voice, sending chills and gooseflesh up his spine.
Sweating, blushing, gooseflesh, and temperature alterations during various emotional states are signs that our mind affects this organ system.
Judging by the areas of blue gooseflesh on display outside the clubs we can expect an epidemic.
Done in by lust and then undone by love, insurance agent Walter Huff masterminds the perfect murder of his lover's husband and then helps it go awry in this classic noir thriller with more twists and turns than a rat's maze and an ending that will give listeners gooseflesh. Cain's world is a bleak one of fuzzy values and situational ethics, where nobody is quite what he seems and where love is anything but happy and redemptive.
My husband woke me up with this horrible news and I broke out in gooseflesh because on July 23, my family and I were rafting and tubing and I got caught on these exact same logs and flipped off of my tube.
Humbert acknowledges the futility of his repetition compulsion as "the rational pursuit of a purely theoretical thrill," and indeed "Lo was all gooseflesh and grit, and for the first time in my life I had as little desire for her as for a manatee" (167).
This denunciation of Machek has recalled to some of Subasich's friends, with a touch of gooseflesh, that it was Subasich who had directly in hand the measures (much exaggerated, according to Subasich's friends) which are now described by Djilas.
Chapter Two, "Glands, Gooseflesh, and Hormones," reviews the hormones and brain system involved in the stress-response: which ones are activated during stress and which ones are inhibited.
Never will I forget my reaction to that sight: it chilled me to the marrow, raising gooseflesh that still at times is raised again at the very thought of what I saw.
(6) The phrases "kicking the habit" and "going cold turkey" describe the leg spasms and gooseflesh skin of opiate withdrawal.
Kathy was tugging at his elbow, the cold air already raising gooseflesh on her bare forearms, and he turned to go inland.
In Naked Portrait with Green Chair, it's as if the stillwet paint representing the areas around the woman's left knee and the inside of her right thigh had been smooshed up against the formalists' mythical picture plane as against a pane of glass, then pulled back to make the paint stand up like gooseflesh.