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[bris-lee] /ˈbrɪs li/
adjective, bristlier, bristliest.
covered or rough with bristles.
like or resembling bristles.
easily antagonized; irascible:
a bristly person with few friends.
Origin of bristly
First recorded in 1585-95; bristle + -y1
Related forms
bristliness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bristly
Historical Examples
  • The Major lifted his bristly eyebrows with a contemptuous twitch.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
  • His head was cropped and bristly, like as if he had a wig made of hair-brushes.

  • A faint flush of shame tinged his bristly cheek at the thought.

  • His moustache was also cut short and bristly over a full, brutal mouth.

    The Prussian Officer D. H. Lawrence
  • They were all legs and teeth and bristly fur, the meat almost inedible.

    Space Prison Tom Godwin
  • Some of the color still holds in the bristly mustache169 and the ear tufts.

    Torchy and Vee Sewell Ford
  • Lou's thin face reddened up to the roots of his bristly hair.

    O Pioneers! Willa Cather
  • The bristly red moustache was contorted as though his lips were smiling.

    The Country House John Galsworthy
  • But the bristly man spat at her as the car started, "Going far?"

    Free Air Sinclair Lewis
  • He saw himself with horror, all bristly, and in soiled linen.

Word Origin and History for bristly

1590s, from bristle (n.) + -y (2). Figurative sense is recorded from 1872. Related: Bristliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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