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

Handcrafted by Japanese artisans with cruelty-free nylon bristles and a sustainable hardwood birch handle, editorial makeup star Gucci Westman’s new foundation brush creates a radiant party-ready complexion. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "The Best Beauty Gifts Under $100 to Give Everyone on Your List," 19 Nov. 2018 Avendaño swears by a buffing brush (one with dense bristles) to apply foundation on his clients who are dealing with breakouts. Tiffany Dodson, SELF, "7 Mistakes You're Making When You Conceal Pimples," 1 Nov. 2018 The bristles are also more closely packed together to ensure that every single lash, even the baby ones, get some love. Shannon Barbour, The Cut, "Chanel Created 3-D-Printed Mascara," 11 June 2018 The Issue: Dirt/Soap Scum 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. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Clean Dirty Grout," 5 Dec. 2018 This domed bristle brush picks up and deposits blush to define, contour, and shade your cheeks. Lori Keong, Marie Claire, "The 10 Essential Makeup Brushes You Need to Own," 3 Nov. 2016 Avoid steel wool or hard bristles, as these tools can damage the coating on the heating element. Betty Gold, Good Housekeeping, "The 5 Best Air Fryers for Making Crispy Comfort Foods So Much Healthier," 20 Nov. 2018 Or bristle when walking down a street at night and seeing a group of black teenage boys approaching. Elizabeth Bernstein, WSJ, "Why We Stereotype Strangers," 29 Oct. 2018 Just squirt your cleanser onto the wet bristles (which are truly very, very soft), turn the brush on, and rub the Clarisonic in circles over your skin. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "Clarisonic Brushes Are On Sale at Ulta Right Now," 9 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Indeed, the B-17s flown by the Eighth Air Force out of Britain bristled with 13 .50-caliber guns for defense and were more heavily armored than other bombers. David A. Price, WSJ, "‘Big Week’ Review: The Seven-Day Blow," 23 Nov. 2018 And former intel chiefs are bristling at the President Trump's decision to declassify important documents related to the Russia investigation. Fox News, "Ingraham: The rush to judgment and injustice for Kavanaugh," 18 Sep. 2018 It was moored at the end of a long dock in a busy marina with views of rocks bristling with cormorants, seagulls screeching overhead, and a bevy of ducks that arrived each morning for their share of the toast. Tara Conklin, Vogue, "After Divorce, Floating Another Chance at Love," 6 Feb. 2019 Its thin, flat row of gentle bristles adds just a light dusting of product. Tiffany Dodson, SELF, "The 4 Makeup Brushes You Need to Master Foundation and Contouring," 10 Oct. 2018 Francis' conservative critics might also bristle at another display of raw papal power from the Argentine Jesuit. Nicole Winfield, Fox News, "Pope defrocks Chilean priest at center of abuse scandal," 28 Sep. 2018 But since then, Pompeo has kept asking for concessions from the North Koreans first, causing Kim’s regime to bristle and ask to deal directly with Trump instead. Alex Ward, Vox, "Why North Korea’s latest nuclear concession isn’t one at all," 8 Oct. 2018 The crown prince, during his recent trip to the United States, seemed to bristle at a question about the war during an interview with the Atlantic magazine. Kareem Fahim, Washington Post, "Missiles fall. But for many Saudis, war in neighboring Yemen is an afterthought.," 13 Apr. 2018 Paper co-author William Revelle (Northwestern University) bristles a bit at the very notion of distinct personality types, like those espoused by the hugely popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Study: people tend to cluster into four distinct personality “types”," 17 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

8 Feb 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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