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 bristling (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 bristlelike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for bristle

Synonyms: Noun

fiber, filament, hair, thread

Synonyms: Verb

abound, brim, bulge, burst, bustle, buzz, crawl, hum, overflow, pullulate, swarm, teem

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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

Their mother tries to keep their world small, like hers, but Jo and Bethie, each in quite different ways, bristle at the confinement. Heidi Stevens, chicagotribune.com, "In 'Mrs. Everything,' Jennifer Weiner explores her mom's sexuality, evolving gender roles and Donald Trump's America. Is it a beach read? Maybe!," 14 June 2019 That combination of high heat and boar-style bristles means a totally smooth result that doesn't require touch-ups with a flat iron — which is both good and bad. Jessica Teich, Good Housekeeping, "This Insanely Popular Hair Dryer Is the Perfect Last-Minute Mother's Day Gift," 26 Apr. 2019 Very ergonomic to hold and the multi length of bristles are great for non tugging. Marci Robin, Allure, "Tangle Teezer Launched a New Brush Specifically for Fine, Breakage-Prone Hair," 6 Apr. 2019 Just put a pump of foundation on the back of your hand, dab the bristles in it, and, starting near your nose, buff the product onto your skin. Jessica Matlin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle's Makeup Artist on How to Look Like a Modern-Day Duchess," 17 Apr. 2019 Christine Ha swirls her foundation on with a brush, feeling precisely where its bristles kiss her skin. Allure, "Blindness & Beauty: How Visually Impaired Women Changed an Industry That Ignored Them," 2 Apr. 2019 For skin that's rough and dappled, the DermaSweep gives a mild refresh, using smooth bristles along with vacuum suction to gently exfoliate and boost circulation. Lindsay Silberman, Town & Country, "How to Reverse Sun Damage, According to Dermatologists," 16 Jan. 2019 Its smart elliptical design means smooth swaths of hair with minimal tugging, and the combination of nylon pin bristles detangle while tufted bristles smooth. Jessica Teich, Good Housekeeping, "This Insanely Popular Hair Dryer Is the Perfect Last-Minute Mother's Day Gift," 26 Apr. 2019 But many in this city of dusty desert winds and blistering salsa, bristle at the prospect of their home becoming a border wall poster child. Will Weissert, The Seattle Times, "El Paso bristles at Trump’s claim that wall made city safe," 11 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Roughly eight feet wide and mounted on the shelves of a long metal hospital-style cart, the BrainEx was less a single machine than a bristling collection of individual machines, each connected to the next, in a simulacrum of the human body. Matthew Shaer, New York Times, "Scientists Are Giving Dead Brains New Life. What Could Go Wrong?," 2 July 2019 Less bristles mean less friction on your hair and less breakage from forcing thick tangles through rows of bristles. 7. Abigail Whittington, Good Housekeeping, "10 Ways to Tame and Get Rid of Frizzy Hair for Good," 27 June 2019 Portraying Lexie’s mother, Nora, Erica Chamblee instinctively bristles at Griff (the very good Tony K. Nam), a not-so-suave game designer who witnesses her dating fiascoes in a coffee shop. Washington Post, "13 things to do in the D.C. area this week," 10 June 2019 The three clearly bristle at their island being run out of the Australian capital, Canberra, under the status of an island territory. Fox News, "Norfolk Islanders capture bronze medal on Aussie mainland," 8 Apr. 2018 Armando Rodriguez bristles warily as Jocasta’s brother Creon, a prison friend of Oedipus’ who considers his arrival in search of someplace to land a threat to his own ambitions. Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "Review: Magic Theatre’s barrio ‘Oedipus’ dazzles a decade later," 14 June 2019 The 6-ton mission soon bristled with five telescopes and involved 20 institutes in 12 countries including the United States. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Telescope designed to study mysterious dark energy keeps Russia’s space science hopes alive," 10 June 2019 In a divorce file bristling with 400 motions, Fotis Dulos and Jennifer Dulos traded allegations, each accusing the other of defying judge’s orders, of threatening to harm or kill each other within earshot of the children. Josh Kovner, courant.com, "Before being jailed in connection with the disappearance of Jennifer Farber Dulos, her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, faced a downward spiral in his business and marriage," 9 June 2019 Opposition libertarians bristled at Butina's outreach to the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, according to former collaborators. Matthew Bodner And Angela Charlton, Fox News, "Misfire: Maria Butina's strange route from Russia to US jail," 10 Sep. 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

28 Jun 2019

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 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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