- The definition of a bristle is a stiff hair.
An example of a bristle is the pointy part of a stiff hairbrush.
- Bristle means to stand like a stiff hair or to show anger.
An example of to bristle is for a cat's fur to stand straight up when scared.
A brush with natural hair bristles.
- any short, stiff, prickly hair of an animal or plant
- any of the hairs of a hog or of some other animals, used for brushes
- such a hair, or an artificial hair like it, in a brush
Origin of bristleMiddle English bristel, metathetic ; from Old English byrst; akin to German borste, bristles ; from Indo-European an unverified form bhsti- ; from base an unverified form bhar-, point, bristle
intransitive verbbristled, bristling
- to become stiff and erect, like bristles
- to have the bristles become erect, as in fear or irritation
- to show strong anger, irritation, outrage, etc. as by a stiffening of the body
- to be thickly covered (with): the battlefield bristled with guns
- to cause to stand up like bristles
- to put bristles on or in
- to make bristly
- A stiff hair.
- A stiff hairlike structure: the bristles of a wire brush.
verbbris·tled, bris·tling, bris·tles
- To stand stiffly on end like bristles: The hair on the dog's neck bristled.
- To raise the bristles: The cat bristled at the sight of the large dog.
- To react in an angry or offended manner: The author bristled at the suggestion of plagiarism.
- To be covered or thick with or as if with bristles: The path bristled with thorns.
- To cause to stand erect like bristles; stiffen.
- To furnish or supply with bristles.
- To make bristly; ruffle.
Origin of bristleMiddle English bristel, probably from Old English *byrstel, from byrst, bristle.
(third-person singular simple present bristles, present participle bristling, simple past and past participle bristled)
- To rise or stand erect, like bristles.
- To appear as if covered with bristles; to have standing, thick and erect, like bristles.
- To be on one's guard or raise one's defenses; to react with fear, suspicion, or distance.
- The employees bristled at the prospect of working through the holidays.
- To fix a bristle to.
- to bristle a thread
From Middle English bristil, brustel, diminutive of brust, from Old English byrst, from Proto-Germanic *burstiz (compare Dutch borstel, German Borste ‘boar's bristle’, Icelandic burst), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰr̥stís (compare Middle Irish brostaim ‘I goad, spur’, Latin fastīgium ‘top’, Polish barszcz ‘hogweed’).