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[brahyd-l] /ˈbraɪd l/
part of the tack or harness of a horse, consisting usually of a headstall, bit, and reins.
anything that restrains or curbs:
His common sense is a bridle to his quick temper.
Machinery. a link, flange, or other attachment for limiting the movement of any part of a machine.
Nautical. a rope or chain secured at both ends to an object to be held, lifted, or towed, and itself held or lifted by a rope or chain secured at its center.
a raising up of the head, as in disdain.
verb (used with object), bridled, bridling.
to put a bridle on.
to control or hold back; restrain; curb.
verb (used without object), bridled, bridling.
to draw up the head and draw in the chin, as in disdain or resentment.
Origin of bridle
before 900; Middle English bridel, Old English brīdel for brigdels, equivalent to brigd- (variant stem of bregdan to braid) + -els noun suffix; akin to Dutch breidel, Old High German brittel
Related forms
bridleless, adjective
bridler, noun
Can be confused
bridal, bridle.
2. governor. 2, 7. check. 7. govern, constrain, inhibit, restrict, limit. 8. bristle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bridling
Historical Examples
  • "Drink or no drink," said Gloria, with a bridling of her head.

    Gloria and Treeless Street Annie Hamilton Donnell
  • I 'aven't come to sharin' my butler's 'ouse,' said Mrs Clay, bridling.

    Sarah's School Friend

    May Baldwin
  • "It's our business what we do with her after we pay our money," declared Fogg, bridling.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • "I'm sure I don't know what makes you think so," she answered, bridling a little.

    The Hero William Somerset Maugham
  • Out in the clearing, a man was bridling a tall buckskin horse.

    The Gold Girl James B. Hendryx
  • In ten more they are among their horses, drawing in the trail-ropes and bridling them.

    The Lone Ranche Captain Mayne Reid
  • "Well, I can assure you he was made for better things," she went on, bridling.

    The Opened Shutters

    Clara Louise Burnham
  • "I suppose you wish me to believe you are sorry," I said, bridling just the least bit.

    A New Sensation Albert Ross
  • Julian frowned, bit his lips, bridling his anger with difficulty.

    The Death of the Gods Dmitri Mrejkowski
  • I beg you not to preach to me, Theodore, she answered, bridling.

    The Bishop's Apron W. Somerset Maugham
British Dictionary definitions for bridling


a headgear for a horse, etc, consisting of a series of buckled straps and a metal mouthpiece (bit) by which the animal is controlled through the reins
something that curbs or restrains; check
a Y-shaped cable, rope, or chain, used for holding, towing, etc
(machinery) a device by which the motion of a component is limited, often in the form of a linkage or flange
(transitive) to put a bridle on (a horse, mule, etc)
(intransitive) (of a horse) to respond correctly to the pull of the reins
(transitive) to restrain; curb: he bridled his rage
(intransitive) often foll by at. to show anger, scorn, or indignation
Derived Forms
bridler, noun
Word Origin
Old English brigdels; related to bregdan to braid1, Old High German brittil, Middle Low German breidel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bridling



Old English bridel "bridle, rein, curb, restraint," related to bregdan "move quickly," from Proto-Germanic *bregdilaz (see braid (v.)).



"to control, dominate," c.1200, from Old English bridlian "to fit with a bridle," from bridel (see bridle (n.)). Meaning "to throw up the head" (as a horse does when reined in) is from mid-15c. Related: Bridled; bridling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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