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bristle

[bris-uh l] /ˈbrɪs əl/
noun
1.
one of the short, stiff, coarse hairs of certain animals, especially hogs, used extensively in making brushes.
2.
anything resembling these hairs.
verb (used without object), bristled, bristling.
3.
to stand or rise stiffly, like bristles.
4.
to erect the bristles, as an irritated animal (often followed by up):
The hog bristled up.
5.
to become rigid with anger or irritation:
The man bristled when I asked him to move.
6.
to be thickly set or filled with something suggestive of bristles:
The plain bristled with bayonets. The project bristled with difficulties.
7.
to be visibly roused or stirred (usually followed by up).
verb (used with object), bristled, bristling.
8.
to erect like bristles:
The rooster bristled his crest.
9.
to furnish with a bristle or bristles.
10.
to make bristly.
Origin of bristle
1000
before 1000; Middle English bristel, equivalent to brist (Old English byrst bristle, cognate with German Borste, Old Norse burst) + -el diminutive suffix
Related forms
bristleless, adjective
bristlelike, adjective
nonbristled, adjective
unbristled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for bristled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There were so many arrows that the body was stuck full of them; it bristled with them.

    Pawnee Hero Stories and Folk-Tales George Bird Grinnell
  • Bobby bristled and froze, on guard, when a stealthy hand tried the latch.

    Greyfriars Bobby Eleanor Atkinson
  • It was guarded by a wall about eight feet high, the top of which bristled with bottle-glass.

    The Lighthouse R.M. Ballantyne
  • As in the past he had bristled and snarled at sight of Lip-lip, so now, and automatically, he bristled and snarled.

    White Fang Jack London
  • I put my hand on her head and she bristled under my hand, but she was quiet.

    The Story of Bawn Katharine Tynan
British Dictionary definitions for bristled

bristle

/ˈbrɪsəl/
noun
1.
any short stiff hair of an animal or plant
2.
something resembling these hair: toothbrush bristle
verb
3.
when intr, often foll by up. to stand up or cause to stand up like bristles: the angry cat's fur bristled
4.
(intransitive) sometimes foll by up. to show anger, indignation, etc: she bristled at the suggestion
5.
(intransitive) to be thickly covered or set: the target bristled with arrows
6.
(intransitive) to be in a state of agitation or movement: the office was bristling with activity
7.
(transitive) to provide with a bristle or bristles
Derived Forms
bristly, adjective
Word Origin
C13 bristil, brustel, from earlier brust, from Old English byrst; related to Old Norse burst, Old High German borst
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 bristled

bristle

n.

Old English byrst "bristle," with metathesis of -r-, from Proto-Germanic *bursti- (cf. Middle Dutch borstel, German borste), from PIE *bhrsti- from root *bhars- "point, bristle" (cf. Sanskrit bhrstih "point, spike"). With -el, diminutive suffix.

v.

c.1200 (implied in past participle adjective bristled) "set or covered with bristles," from bristle (n.). Meaning "become angry or excited" is 1540s, from the way animals show fight. Related: Bristling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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