[ bris-uh l ]
/ ˈbrɪs əl /


one of the short, stiff, coarse hairs of certain animals, especially hogs, used extensively in making brushes.
anything resembling these hairs.

verb (used without object), bris·tled, bris·tling.

verb (used with object), bris·tled, bris·tling.

Nearby words

  1. brisken,
  2. brisket,
  3. brisling,
  4. brisso,
  5. brissot,
  6. bristle worm,
  7. bristle-grass,
  8. bristle-thighed curlew,
  9. bristlebird,
  10. bristlecone pine

Origin of bristle

before 1000; Middle English bristel, equivalent to brist (Old English byrst bristle, cognate with German Borste, Old Norse burst) + -el diminutive suffix

Related formsbris·tle·less, adjectivebris·tle·like, adjectivenon·bris·tled, adjectiveun·bris·tled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bristle

British Dictionary definitions for bristle


/ (ˈbrɪsəl) /


any short stiff hair of an animal or plant
something resembling these hairtoothbrush bristle


Derived Formsbristly, adjective

Word Origin for bristle

C13 bristil, brustel, from earlier brust, from Old English byrst; related to Old Norse burst, Old High German borst

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 bristle
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper