bristle

noun
bris·​tle | \ˈbri-səl \

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 , 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 \ adjective

Synonyms for bristle

Synonyms: Noun

fiber, filament, hair, thread

Synonyms: Verb

fume, rage, storm

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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

Townsend likes to spray a tiny bit of hair spray on a (clean, obviously) natural-bristle toothbrush and use it to smooth down flyaways. Melanie Rud Chadwick, Allure, "The 16 Best Hair Sprays on the Market, From Flexible to Strong Hold," 24 Sep. 2018 And with every bristle of outrage, every threat of a lawsuit, Who Is America? gets more attention than Showtime could ever buy, a kind of instant signal of which side the show is on in the never-ending culture wars. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Sacha Baron Cohen’s new show arrives with a swirl of outrage-driven hype. Don’t believe it.," 15 July 2018 Personal grooming for guys could become pricier since hair clippers and electric shavers are on the new list, as are items such as badger hair and boar bristle that are used in old-fashioned shaving brushes. Bruce Einhorn, latimes.com, "Trump's trade war is about to hit home — and your home is no exception," 11 July 2018 Perhaps the most striking of today’s lineup, though, are the horn-backed bristle hair brushes—found at the Karstadt department stores across the city— that are sure to turn even the most routine of undertakings into an extraordinary experience. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "These German Hair Brushes Are Berlin's Most Instagrammable Souvenir," 5 July 2018 For women who want smoothness but have coarse, frizzy hair, boar bristle is key to provide the right amount of tension needed to achieve that smoothness. Lauren Levinson, SELF, "8 Mistakes You're Making When You Blow-Dry Your Hair," 14 Mar. 2018 The plant can grow up to 18 feet tall, has a green stem with bristles and dark red or purple spots, and has a white flower. CBS News, "Giant hogweed sends Virginia teen to hospital, burn unit," 13 July 2018 Spray water on a boar-bristle brush (or toothbrush) and brush baby hairs forward. Sharlyn Pierre, Allure, "15 Dope Ways to Style Your Baby Hair," 13 July 2018 The best and easiest way to dust delicate items is to use an inexpensive, fluffy makeup, paint or shaving brush: perfect for getting into small areas, and the bristles won't scratch the item. Heloise, Houston Chronicle, "Butter versus margarine," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Trump has also reportedly bristled at the negative press coverage of the diplomatic effort. Alex Ward, Vox, "Trump just canceled Pompeo’s big trip to North Korea. That’s a really bad sign.," 24 Aug. 2018 Both America and Taiwan have bristled at China’s attempt to strong-arm the airlines. The Economist, "A deadline looms in China’s battle with foreign firms over Taiwan," 5 July 2018 In a pile of sand, two slim tree trunks bristle with scores of nails. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "Japanese Gutai in the 1950s: Fast and Fearless," 14 June 2018 In the lead up to Tuesday's summit, Pyongyang has bristled at comparisons raised by some in the Trump White House of a model of denuclearization that would follow the precedent set by Libya. Jamie Tarabay, CNN, "Singapore summit: Will striking a deal with Trump risk Kim's regime?," 11 June 2018 But his lawyers and other allies have bristled at the idea of placing the president in Mueller’s direct path. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "United States v. Trump," 6 June 2018 The RCBs bristle with weaponry, averaging a weapons station every ten feet. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Those Boats Iran Seized Are Fast, Mean, and Crucial to the U.S. Navy," 13 Jan. 2016 As an African-American minister, though, Fletcher bristled when Sessions used Romans 13 to justify the administration’s actions. Peter Rowe, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Bordering on faith: San Diego spiritual leaders wrestle with the morality of immigration," 1 July 2018 But by 2008, Hegerty had retired and the new chief, Ed Flynn, bristled at the notion that his officers had to make up for the lack of adequate psychiatric services. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Implementation of mental health training plan for officers runs counter to recommendations," 8 June 2018

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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Statistics for bristle

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bristle

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

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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 \

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 \

Medical Definition of bristle 

: a short stiff coarse hair or filament

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Comments on bristle

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