verb (used with object), bri·dled, bri·dling.

to put a bridle on.
to control or hold back; restrain; curb.

verb (used without object), bri·dled, bri·dling.

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 formsbri·dle·less, adjectivebri·dler, noun
Can be confusedbridal bridle

Synonyms for bridle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bridle

Contemporary Examples of bridle

  • Israelis may bridle at the vision of a Palestinian state which looks like militias riding in on Jeeps and firing-off rifles.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The West Bank Through Chinese Eyes

    Bernard Avishai

    March 19, 2012

  • Bridle printed two years' worth of posts in a book, My Life in Tweets, through a self-publishing service.

    The Daily Beast logo

    Isabel Wilkinson

    April 1, 2009

  • The retelling developed quite a following, Bridle not included.

    The Daily Beast logo

    Isabel Wilkinson

    April 1, 2009

Historical Examples of bridle

  • Stephen caught the bridle, and Ambrose helped the burgess into the saddle.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • Take my bridle off the wall, you, Jeff, and throw it at my feet.

  • Alleyne, you will come with me, and lead a spare horse by the bridle.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • "It is well," said he, and with a shake of the bridle rode on down the woodland path.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Shandy gave the bridle a swing, and it clattered to the floor from its peg.


    W. A. Fraser

British Dictionary definitions for bridle



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


(tr) to put a bridle on (a horse, mule, etc)
(intr) (of a horse) to respond correctly to the pull of the reins
(tr) to restrain; curbhe bridled his rage
(intr often foll by at) to show anger, scorn, or indignation
Derived Formsbridler, noun

Word Origin for bridle

Old English brigdels; related to bregdan to braid 1, 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

Word Origin and History for bridle

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