- 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
Examples from the Web for bristled
Asked about the role he played, and the impact of his famous name, Goldwater bristled a bit.Scenes from the GOP Civil War
February 4, 2014
And Kelley bristled at the notion that women were supposed to be offended by the video.‘Blurred Lines,’ Robin Thicke’s Summer Anthem, Is Kind of Rapey
June 17, 2013
Rios Montt staunchly defended his actions against what he termed a deadly enemy, and bristled at the suggestion of genocide.Guatemalan Dictator Efrain Rios Montt Guilty of Genocide
May 14, 2013
Cheri Young bristled in her stylish blue dress, her shoulder-length hair let loose from the ponytail of the day before.Cheri Young, the ‘Steel Magnolia’ of the Edwards Trial, Shoves Back
May 2, 2012
According to network sources, Olbermann bristled at the amount of money being invested in his show.Keith Olbermann’s Firing at Current TV Could Be his Ruin or his Salvation
March 30, 2012
Pete bristled—as much as a fat man could bristle on so hot a day.Good Indian
B. M. Bower
She looked at White Fang, who snarled and bristled and glared malevolently.
He bristled suspiciously, but the master warned him that all was well.
As he bent his head carelessly to smell it, White Fang bristled slightly.
As in the past he had bristled and snarled at sight of Lip-lip, so now, and automatically, he bristled and snarled.
- 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 and History for bristled
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.