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  1. part of the tack or harness of a horse, consisting usually of a headstall, bit, and reins.
  2. anything that restrains or curbs: His common sense is a bridle to his quick temper.
  3. Machinery. a link, flange, or other attachment for limiting the movement of any part of a machine.
  4. 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.
  5. a raising up of the head, as in disdain.
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verb (used with object), bri·dled, bri·dling.
  1. to put a bridle on.
  2. to control or hold back; restrain; curb.
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verb (used without object), bri·dled, bri·dling.
  1. to draw up the head and draw in the chin, as in disdain or resentment.
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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


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for bridled

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The horse was saddled and bridled; the groom held the stirrup, and up I got.

  • These were all saddled, bridled, and magnificently caparisoned.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • I was not too much abashed to take notice that the Kelpie bridled at this.

  • He bridled up at the word "illiterate," and repudiated the vile insinuation.

    My New Curate

    P.A. Sheehan

  • Miss Milliken bridled reproachfully at this slur on her sex.

    The Girl on the Boat

    Pelham Grenville Wodehouse

British Dictionary definitions for bridled


  1. 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
  2. something that curbs or restrains; check
  3. a Y-shaped cable, rope, or chain, used for holding, towing, etc
  4. machinery a device by which the motion of a component is limited, often in the form of a linkage or flange
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  1. (tr) to put a bridle on (a horse, mule, etc)
  2. (intr) (of a horse) to respond correctly to the pull of the reins
  3. (tr) to restrain; curbhe bridled his rage
  4. (intr often foll by at) to show anger, scorn, or indignation
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Derived Formsbridler, noun

Word Origin

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 bridled



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

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"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper