bristle

noun
bris·​tle | \ ˈbri-səl How to pronounce bristle (audio) \

Definition of bristle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a short stiff coarse hair or filament hog bristles short bristle paint brushes

bristle

verb
bristled; bristling\ ˈbris-​liŋ How to pronounce bristle (audio) , ˈbri-​sə-​ \

Definition of bristle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to furnish with short stiff coarse hairs or filaments : to furnish with bristles
2 : to make aggressive or angry : to make bristly : ruffle

intransitive verb

1a : to rise and stand stiffly erect quills bristling
b : to raise the bristles (as in anger) a snarling, bristling dog
2 : to take on an aggressively defensive attitude (as in response to a slight or criticism) he bristled at the accusations of corruption
3a : 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

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Other Words from bristle

Noun

bristlelike \ ˈbri-​sə(l)-​ˌlīk How to pronounce bristle (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for bristle

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of bristle in a Sentence

Noun a face covered with bristles the bristles of a brush Verb Electricity makes your hair bristle. a recent college grad thrilled to be starting a new life in a city bristling with possibilities
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When grout is stained with dirt or soap scum, scrub it with a stiff-bristle brush, hot water, and scouring powder, such as Comet or Bar Keepers Friend. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "How to Clean Dirty Grout," 27 Jan. 2021 Some of our favorite dryers are equipped with nozzle and afro combs, styling tools like curlers, hot paddle brushes, or comb straighteners, and style dryers including boar bristle brushes, wide-tooth styling picks, and more. Carsen Joenk, Popular Science, "The best hair dryer: Get a salon-worthy blowout at home," 22 Jan. 2021 While many legislators agree with Dunleavy that resolution is needed on the divisive dividend issue, some bristle at going to an advisory vote, arguing they were elected to make tough decisions. Becky Bohrer, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska Gov. Dunleavy pitches Permanent Fund dividend change amid legislative splits," 22 Jan. 2021 Japanese auto executives bristle at such statements, saying more hybrid gas-electric vehicles are sold in Japan than in any other country. Peter Landers, WSJ, "Japan to Phase Out Gasoline-Powered Cars, Bucking Toyota Chief," 25 Dec. 2020 Hairstylists typically recommend using a boar bristle brush for the smoothest results. Wendy Sy, Allure, "The 23 Best Hair-Dryers That Make At-Home Blowouts Fast and Easy," 24 Dec. 2020 Traditionalists will choose a natural bristle brush. Bob Beacham, chicagotribune.com, "The best shave kit," 22 Dec. 2020 Much like conventional toothbrushes, electric toothbrush heads come in a wide variety of bristle softnesses, shapes, and configurations. Popular Science, "Best electric toothbrush: Five things to consider," 8 Dec. 2020 Gently scrub with a soft-bristle brush or a nonabrasive scrubbing pad. Washington Post, "Need to remove sap from asphalt? Get out the hand sanitizer.," 30 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some of Trump's top allies in Congress have tried to shift blame to Pelosi -- questioning her handling of Capitol security before the attack -- and could bristle at any closer examination of Trump. Benjamin Siegel, ABC News, "Congress aims to avoid politics with independent Jan. 6 investigation," 20 Feb. 2021 Despite the push for decriminalization by some lawmakers, many Americans bristle at the idea of decriminalizing drugs like LSD and MDMA. Paul Best, Fox News, "California bill would decriminalize psychedelic drugs like acid and magic mushrooms," 19 Feb. 2021 But some transit operators can bristle at the idea of fare integration, which could affect their unique agencies and the fares many depend heavily on. Mallory Moench, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area transit can be a complex, costly ‘nightmare.’ The pandemic might help fix that," 1 Jan. 2021 Palm oil, the highest-yielding vegetable oil, is an important part of the two Southeast Asian countries’ economies and the governments bristle at any form of criticism, saying the industry plays an important role in alleviating poverty. oregonlive, "Child labor in palm oil industry tied to popular U.S. brands, including Girl Scout cookies," 30 Dec. 2020 Ideally, Christmas means falling in love with your siblings again over egg nog as your parents bristle with the excitement of having you all together under one roof and force-feed you chocolate. Raven Smith, Vogue, "On New Year’s Revolutions and the Marvelous Mystery of 2021," 16 Dec. 2020 Twigs aren’t without beauty; at farmers markets, garden centers and floral shops, buckets of branches bristle with color, texture and form. Washington Post, "In this season of austerity, there’s a cold sort of beauty in decorating with twigs," 1 Dec. 2020 Some people bristle when Worthington has finished his work and lops a few decades off the age of their building. Washington Post, "If you really want to know how old a historical house is, look to the tree rings," 5 Dec. 2020 But Biden's Irish roots, although a boon for Ballina, may be causing some in London to bristle. NBC News, "Joe Biden's Irish ancestral hometown Ballina revels in win, as London grows uneasy over Brexit," 18 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bristle.' 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 bristle

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for bristle

Noun

Middle English bristil, from brust bristle, from Old English byrst; akin to Old High German burst bristle, and perhaps to Latin fastigium top

Verb

verbal derivative of bristle entry 1

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Time Traveler for bristle

Time Traveler

The first known use of bristle was in the 14th century

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Statistics for bristle

Last Updated

14 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bristle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bristle. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for bristle

bristle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of bristle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a short, stiff hair, fiber, etc.

bristle

verb

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

of hair : to rise up and become stiff
: to show signs of anger : to become angry

bristle

noun
bris·​tle | \ ˈbri-səl How to pronounce bristle (audio) \

Kids Definition of bristle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a short stiff hair a hog's bristle
2 : a stiff hair or something like a hair fastened in a brush

bristle

verb
bristled; bristling

Kids Definition of bristle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to rise up and stiffen like bristles Her evil laugh makes your hair bristle.
2 : to show signs of anger The judge bristled at the reminder of her stupidity.— Ellen Raskin, The Westing Game
3 : to be covered with The bush bristled with thorns.

bristle

noun
bris·​tle | \ ˈbris-əl How to pronounce bristle (audio) \

Medical Definition of bristle

: a short stiff coarse hair or filament

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Comments on bristle

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