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

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 Those who knew and worked with her bristle at the depiction. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Olivia Wilde defends ‘Richard Jewell’ role amid growing criticism," 11 Dec. 2019 Use a soft-bristle nylon brush and the vinegar/baking soda solution to thoroughly scrub and clean the area. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Clean Your Washing Machine," 25 Sep. 2019 Use a soft-bristle brush to work it deep into the fibers, and blot the solution away using paper towels or a shop vacuum, allowing the stain to air dry. NBC News, "How to get stains out of almost anything," 24 June 2018 Conair Travel Smart Pro Garment Steamer Best for international travel: An easy user favorite, this 450-watt travel steamer comes with a detachable bristle and lint brush to get your outfit shiny, new, and wrinkle-free all at once. Dan Q. Dao, Condé Nast Traveler, "8 Best Travel Steamers for a Wrinkle-Free Vacation," 5 Dec. 2019 The best samples had many kinds of living organisms in them, with masses of dead mould, bits of cellulose, various colored particles, shreds of hair, bristles, etc. Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Margarine smugglers, a deadly milk war and more flavor Wisconsin's dairy history," 28 Aug. 2019 What's round, has bristles and is used for grooming? Judi Dash, latimes.com, "Gear that helps your health, cradles your neck and keeps you or your money safe," 10 June 2019 When your brush is ready to be tossed, be sure to dispose of it properly by removing the bristles before you compost. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Natural Products for Your Dopp Kit," 17 Oct. 2019 The bristles even have little yellow balls on the tips, which are meant to help with lash separation just like the hair-care brand's best-selling Drybar’s Half Pint Brush does with hair. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "IT Cosmetics and Drybar's New Mascara Is Like a Blowout for Your Lashes," 23 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb An intermediate-sized ball (28.5 inches) is perfect for younger kids or girls who bristle at the fact that a lot of gendered basketballs overdose on the color pink. Popular Science, "Basketballs to help you beat any full-court press," 22 Oct. 2019 While the US Navy has big ships bristling with the latest technology, Iran takes a decidedly different approach on the water: swarm tactics. Brad Lendon, CNN, "Iran's military power is boosted by unconventional tactics and proxies in strategic locations," 9 Jan. 2020 Bitterly disillusioned with the West on security issues, in 2007 Mr. Putin delivered a speech in Munich bristling with resentment and anger at American unilateralism and disregard for Russian opposition to the expansion of NATO. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, "Putin’s Russia, Punching Above Its Weight, Keeps Adversaries Off Balance," 23 Dec. 2019 Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie make good on the promise of their splashy casting, delivering a film that’s both soberly, compassionately thoughtful and bristling with the energy of its high-powered setting. BostonGlobe.com, "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," 20 Dec. 2019 Modern-day Marxists will bristle with some cause at Paul’s section tying socialism to its national-socialist, or Nazi, iteration. Phillip W. Magness, National Review, "Rand Paul’s Case against Socialism," 19 Dec. 2019 Former coach Adam Gase, whom Landry — a current Browns receiver — had bristled with repeatedly is no longer on the Dolphins. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, "NFL winners, losers: 49ers step on the gas while Cowboys fume in several ways," 26 Nov. 2019 But the defensive pride and haunted solitude of the outsider who believes his appearance means that no woman could ever love him cuts deep in a transfixing performance from Peter Dinklage, bristling with humor, pathos and fierce magnetism. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Cyrano': Theater Review," 8 Nov. 2019 The word is never used, but the character speaks in halting sentences and bristles with undisguised passions. Christian Holub, EW.com, "The Fanatic has an out-there performance from John Travolta and not much else," 3 Sep. 2019

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

25 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bristle.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bristling. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for bristle

bristle

noun
How to pronounce bristle (audio)

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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