- one of the short, stiff, coarse hairs of certain animals, especially hogs, used extensively in making brushes.
- anything resembling these hairs.
- to stand or rise stiffly, like bristles.
- to erect the bristles, as an irritated animal (often followed by up): The hog bristled up.
- to become rigid with anger or irritation: The man bristled when I asked him to move.
- to be thickly set or filled with something suggestive of bristles: The plain bristled with bayonets. The project bristled with difficulties.
- to be visibly roused or stirred (usually followed by up).
- to erect like bristles: The rooster bristled his crest.
- to furnish with a bristle or bristles.
- to make bristly.
Origin of bristle
Related Words for bristlefume, seethe, bridle, fiber, point, spine, thorn, barb, feeler, whisker, prickle, stubble, vibrissa, quill, ruffle, spit, rage, flare, swell, rise
Examples from the Web for bristle
Contemporary Examples of bristle
Americans tend to bristle even at self-censorship; we are reluctant to declare that we simply are not going to look at something.From ISIS Videos to JLaw Nudes, When Is Looking Abetting Evil?
September 3, 2014
And they bristle too at the notion that they had some kind of personal enmity toward the president.These Clinton Haters Can’t Quit the Crazy
May 22, 2014
Of course there are those who bristle at such neologisms—the scolds, the conservative prescriptivists, the SNOOTs.The Oxford English Dictionary: The Original Crowdsourcer
April 29, 2013
In fact, so complete was his recovery, he later allowed himself to bristle at comparisons with Spitzer.Death of the Sex Scandal
Louise Roug Bokkenheuser
September 29, 2010
Republicans, meanwhile, bristle with anger as they attempt to defend against the flood of new information.Busting the Torture Myths
April 27, 2009
Historical Examples of bristle
Pete bristled—as much as a fat man could bristle on so hot a day.Good Indian
B. M. Bower
How was he to know that this thing that sniffed was a thing at which to bristle?White Fang
The whole place, behind the fence, appeared to bristle and resound.Pandora
The mane on his back began to bristle, and I knew that I had but a small second in which to act.Wood Folk at School
William J. Long
Hill began to bristle and to look around in search of the one who had spoken.Owen Clancy's Happy Trail
Burt L. Standish
- any short stiff hair of an animal or plant
- something resembling these hairtoothbrush bristle
- (when intr , often foll by up) to stand up or cause to stand up like bristlesthe angry cat's fur bristled
- (intr sometimes foll by up) to show anger, indignation, etcshe bristled at the suggestion
- (intr) to be thickly covered or setthe target bristled with arrows
- (intr) to be in a state of agitation or movementthe office was bristling with activity
- (tr) to provide with a bristle or bristles
Word Origin for bristle
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.
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.