bris·​tly | \ ˈbris-lē How to pronounce bristly (audio) , ˈbri-sə-\
bristlier; bristliest

Definition of bristly

1a : thickly set with bristles a bristly shrub
b : consisting of or resembling bristles a bristly mustache
2 : inclined to or showing aggressiveness or anger a bristly temperament

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Examples of bristly in a Sentence

although pigs look hairless, they're actually bristly creatures

Recent Examples on the Web

Not only were the bones in excellent condition, but so were the rock and soft tissue, which included wing membranes, bristly body feathers, gizzard stones, and even the contents of its last meal in its stomach. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Whoa, Look at This Bird-Bat Dinosaur," 8 May 2019 But the larger forces at play—the tug of populism in a brutally competitive political environment and the rise of bristly nativism in a country that increasingly sees itself as a rival to China—will likely affect other foreign companies as well. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "Politics May Trip Up Amazon and Walmart in India," 10 Jan. 2019 With a dogged spirit, Loree has transformed her plain lot into a home for some of the most bristly and weird flora that can survive her city’s climate. Sunset, "How to Grow a Desert Garden Anywhere," 22 Jan. 2018 Long, a stout man with a bristly gray mustache, was impressed. Time, "Why Trump’s ‘Forgotten Man’ Still Supports Him," 15 Feb. 2018 For the uninitiated, the retro, some may say dated term, refers to a bristly line of abdominal hair leaning towards the pubic region. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "The Happy Trail Is Officially the Last Frontier of Female Body Hair," 16 Dec. 2017 Even the very beautiful giant leopard moth’s bristly caterpillar feeds on this plant, probably sequestering the plant’s toxins for its own protection. Dave Taft, New York Times, "The Vegetarian’s Puffer Fish," 5 Oct. 2017 Among them were bundles of baleen, a bristly filtration system found in the mouths of Mysticeti whales. Jacob Brogan, Smithsonian, "These Ancient Whale Baleen Artifacts Can Now Tell New Stories," 29 Sep. 2017 One side of the brush from two-thirds down is completely bristle-less, while the top third of the brush contains several bristly spokes, similar in design to an open Venus flytrap. Kathleen Hou, The Cut, "The 5 Best Drugstore Summer Beauty Buys Under $10," 1 Aug. 2017

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

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

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Statistics for bristly

Last Updated

21 May 2019

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Time Traveler for bristly

The first known use of bristly was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for bristly


bris·​tly | \ ˈbris-lē How to pronounce bristly (audio) \
bristlier; bristliest

Kids Definition of bristly

: of, like, or having many bristles bristly whiskers

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More from Merriam-Webster on bristly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bristly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bristly

Spanish Central: Translation of bristly

Nglish: Translation of bristly for Spanish Speakers

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food or victuals

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