bri·​dle | \ ˈbrī-dᵊl How to pronounce bridle (audio) \

Definition of bridle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the headgear with which a horse is governed and which carries a bit (see bit entry 1 sense 2a) and reins
2 : a length of line or cable attached to two parts of something (such as a ship) to spread the force of a pull especially : rigging on a kite for attaching line
3 : curb, restraint set a bridle on his power


bridled; bridling\ ˈbrīd-​liŋ How to pronounce bridling (audio) , ˈbrī-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of bridle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to put a harness with which a horse is governed on the head of : to put a bridle (see bridle entry 1 sense 1) on bridle a horse
2 : to restrain, check, or control with or as if with a bridle bridle your tongue was forced to bridle her anger

intransitive verb

: to show hostility or resentment (as to an affront to one's pride or dignity) especially by drawing back the head and chin military commanders who had bridled against … interferenceTime

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Synonyms & Antonyms for bridle

Synonyms: Verb

check, constrain, contain, control, curb, govern, hold, inhibit, keep, measure, pull in, regulate, rein (in), restrain, rule, tame

Antonyms: Verb


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restrain, check, curb, bridle mean to hold back from or control in doing something. restrain suggests holding back by force or persuasion from acting or from going to extremes. restrained themselves from laughing check implies restraining or impeding a progress, activity, or impetus. trying to check government spending curb suggests an abrupt or drastic checking. learn to curb your appetite bridle implies keeping under control by subduing or holding in. bridle an impulse to throw the book down

Examples of bridle in a Sentence


try to bridle your criticism next time so that it is helpful and not hurtful

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The matching bracelet, too, is a study in structure and ease, with a few bridle-like strands breaking loose from the whole. Vogue, "Hermès’s Chaine d’Ancre Turns 80 This Year, and Pierre Hardy Has Created a High Jewelry Collection to Celebrate It," 3 July 2018 Syrian officials, of course, bridle at such comparisons. The Economist, "How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria," 28 June 2018 And, of course, the extensive equestrian facilities provide only the best, including two barns (14 stalls), outdoor riding arenas, and access to the Bedford Riding Lanes, a network of 100 miles of bridle trails. Lauren Ro, Curbed, "Ultimate equestrian estate just outside NYC wants $8.5M," 22 June 2018 Evidence for bits and bridles around the two cast horses suggests that they were harnessed by people trying to flee the eruption, says Massimo Osanna, general director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. National Geographic, "Horses Found in Pompeii May Have Been Harnessed to Flee Eruption," 24 May 2018 Upon the rendezvous this afternoon (April 30), the deck crew had a towing bridle and an astern-fueling rig set up and ready to go. Gary Robbins,, "UC San Diego research ship Sally Ride aids damaged catamaran off Tahiti," 1 May 2018 Wrinkle grew up riding horses along the bridle trails of Robert Jemison's 1920s development, Mountain Brook. Birmingham Magazine,, "Birmingham magazine's top pop culture picks for April," 17 Apr. 2018 Those familiar with the brand don't need to be told that what is now a global leather goods, apparel, jewelry and accessories company began as a harness and bridle business founded in Paris by Thierry Hermès in 1837. Adam Tschorn,, "Explore Hermès' connection to all things equestrian at Beverly Hills pop-up exhibition through April 7," 31 Mar. 2018 Deputy sports a Relentless breast collar, bridle, saddle pad, and fetlock and hoof wraps. Melissa Lyttle, Smithsonian, "The First Family of Rodeo," 13 Dec. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Obama loyalists, including his former strategist, David Axelrod, and Neera Tanden, the head of the Center for American Progress, bridled at the criticism of their former boss. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, "Three big questions for the Democratic presidential field," 2 Aug. 2019 In many other urban contexts, peculiarity is bridled and concealed behind closed doors. Giulia Barcaro, National Geographic, "Meet the local legends of this Italian town by the sea," 3 Apr. 2019 White men bridle at the notion of being part of a tribe or engaging in identity politics. David Roberts, Vox, "American white people really hate being called “white people”," 26 July 2018 And Tomaselli, unlike so many artists, doesn't bridle at the thought that his paintings could be taken as decorative. David Colman, ELLE Decor, "Art Show: Fred Tomaselli," 1 Nov. 2010 In a frosty statement issued on July 3rd the government in Vienna, where officials bridled at Berlin’s failure to consult them, threatened to impose new controls on its own southern border if the Germans started turning back asylum-seekers. The Economist, "Angela Merkel’s flawed deal on migrants," 5 July 2018 The Italians have bridled for years that they have been left alone by their European Union partners on the front line on the Mediterranean with an unmanageable burden of migration that Mr. Salvini pledged to reverse in his recent election campaign. Adam Nossiter, New York Times, "Scorned Migrant Boat Exposes Raw Feelings Among European Allies," 13 June 2018 There have already been signs that Mr. Kim is bridling under China’s influence. Jane Perlez, New York Times, "Before Kim Meets Trump, China Gets Jittery About North Korea’s Intentions," 10 June 2018 Many have bridled at social changes in Saudi Arabia that have allowed concerts and other events where men and women mingle. Kareem Fahim, Washington Post, "Saudi Arabia’s once-powerful conservatives silenced by reforms and repression," 5 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bridle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bridle


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for bridle


Middle English bridel, from Old English brīdel; akin to Old English bregdan to move quickly — more at braid


Middle English bridlen, going back to Old English brīdlian, verbal derivative of brīdel bridle entry 1

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Statistics for bridle

Last Updated

24 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for bridle

The first known use of bridle was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for bridle



English Language Learners Definition of bridle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a device that fits on a horse's head and that is used for guiding and controlling the horse



English Language Learners Definition of bridle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put a bridle on (a horse)
: to react in an angry way


bri·​dle | \ ˈbrī-dᵊl How to pronounce bridle (audio) \

Kids Definition of bridle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a device for controlling a horse made up of a set of straps enclosing the head, a bit, and a pair of reins


bridled; bridling\ ˈbrīd-​liŋ , ˈbrī-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Kids Definition of bridle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to put a bridle on bridle a horse
2 : restrain sense 2 He tried to bridle his anger.
3 : to hold the head high and draw in the chin as an expression of resentment


bri·​dle | \ ˈbrīd-ᵊl How to pronounce bridle (audio) \

Medical Definition of bridle

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More from Merriam-Webster on bridle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bridle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bridle

Spanish Central: Translation of bridle

Nglish: Translation of bridle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bridle for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bridle

Comments on bridle

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readily or continually undergoing change

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