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 bridle (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

Synonyms & Antonyms for bridle

Synonyms: Verb

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

Verb try to bridle your criticism next time so that it is helpful and not hurtful
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Set the Tone, a 2-year-old filly, lost her rider during training, the bridle came loose and the saddle slipped underneath her. Los Angeles Times, 4 Nov. 2021 The artifact, which may have been part of a bridle or harness, appeared as though it might have been dropped in the ice the just day before – our guides even recognized the technique of traditional manufacture. William Taylor, The Conversation, 11 Aug. 2021 The prongs of faith and duty: two sides of a bridle. Emily Bernard, The New Yorker, 25 June 2020 Activities: Golf, fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, plus 70 miles of bridle trails and a horse camp. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 7 June 2020 Mount Airy Forest Mount Airy Forest can be accessed from Mount Airy and Westwood and the park's 1,459 acres include miles of hiking trails, bridle trails. Sarah Brookbank,, 24 Apr. 2020 Roszak especially recommends bridle trails, which are underused by feet and hooves alike. Grant Segall, cleveland, 2 Apr. 2020 But just a five-minute drive from downtown Ojai, the neighborhoods open up, and areas including East End, Persimmon Hill and Saddle Mountain Estates offer bridle trails, valley views and ample land. Debra Kamin, New York Times, 3 Mar. 2020 The horse was supposed to arrive at 2:20 p.m. but did not arrive until 2:34 p.m. Castanada said his groom had a difficult time putting a bridle on the 8-year-old gelding. Los Angeles Times, 21 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Adaptive dampers and air springs bridle the mass with authoritative control. K.c. Colwell, Car and Driver, 4 Oct. 2021 Left to its own devices, the virus could hypothetically bridle itself. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 28 June 2021 Right-wing politicians who bridle at lockdown restrictions are as angry as the left-wing climate protesters who regularly clog Trafalgar Square in London as part of the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations. New York Times, 23 Mar. 2021 Wild horses might drag the people of China away from their tyrannical government, but rather than shoot the horses in true Soviet style, the CCP has decided to break and bridle them instead. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, 1 Oct. 2020 For weeks, neither did many Italians, who alternately obeyed and bridled at the restrictions imposed on them. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, 11 Mar. 2020 Trump has bridled at findings that Russia mounted a massive effort to attack his 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, and by doing so boost his candidacy. Alan Levin,, 12 Jan. 2020 Companies with a lot of independent contractors on their books have bridled, in some cases preposterously. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, 12 Sep. 2019 The smooth, adult bent of Nashville continued into the '60s, sparking another rebellion among a loose crew of musicians who bridled at the restrictions imposed on them. Randy Lewis,, 9 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for bridle

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

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Dictionary Entries Near bridle

bridging species


bridle cable

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Statistics for bridle

Last Updated

10 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bridle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on bridle

Nglish: Translation of bridle for Spanish Speakers

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


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