See more synonyms for bridle on
  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.
verb (used with object), bri·dled, bri·dling.
  1. to put a bridle on.
  2. to control or hold back; restrain; curb.
verb (used without object), bri·dled, bri·dling.
  1. 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

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bridling

Historical Examples of bridling

  • "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.

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

  • "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

British Dictionary definitions for bridling


  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
  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
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 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