noun bris·tle \ˈbri-səl\

: a short, stiff hair, fiber, etc.

Full Definition of BRISTLE

:  a short stiff coarse hair or filament
bris·tle·like \ˈbri-sə(l)-ˌlīk\ adjective

Examples of BRISTLE

  1. a face covered with bristles
  2. the bristles of a brush

Origin of BRISTLE

Middle English bristil, from brust bristle, from Old English byrst; akin to Old High German burst bristle, and perhaps to Latin fastigium top
First Known Use: 14th century

Related to BRISTLE

Other Botany Terms

annual, burgeon, chloroplast, nomenclature, succulent, sylvan, xylem



of hair : to rise up and become stiff

: to show signs of anger : to become angry

bris·tledbris·tling \ˈbris-liŋ, ˈbri-sə-\

Full Definition of BRISTLE

transitive verb
:  to furnish with bristles
:  to make bristly :  ruffle
intransitive verb
a :  to rise and stand stiffly erect <quills bristling>
b :  to raise the bristles (as in anger)
:  to take on an aggressively defensive attitude (as in response to a slight or criticism) <he bristled at the accusations of corruption>
a :  to be full of or covered with especially something suggestive of bristles <roofs bristled with chimneys>
b :  to be full of something specified <book bristles with detail and irony — W. J. Broad>

Examples of BRISTLE

  1. Electricity makes your hair bristle.
  2. <a recent college grad thrilled to be starting a new life in a city bristling with possibilities>

First Known Use of BRISTLE

15th century

Rhymes with BRISTLE


noun bris·tle \ˈbris-əl\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of BRISTLE

:  a short stiff coarse hair or filament


Next Word in the Dictionary: bristle–birdPrevious Word in the Dictionary: brisqueAll Words Near: bristle
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