Definition of bridle in English:



  • 1The headgear used to control a horse, consisting of buckled straps to which a bit and reins are attached.

    ‘grooms came at once to take the bridles’
    • ‘Jack reappeared at her side carrying two bare-back riding pads and two bridles.’
    • ‘It was a miniature of Tam's horse, very detailed, with a bridle, saddle, and individual hairs in its mane and tale.’
    • ‘Each horse had two saddles and bridles each, one set for English and one for western.’
    • ‘Lila nodded and offered them two horses' bridles.’
    • ‘Struggling a bit, Adam threw the bridle and reins over Midnight's head.’
    • ‘She jerked the strap of the bridle to emphasize the word ‘die’.’
    • ‘With halters underneath the bridles and their lunches safely tucked into their backpacks they set out.’
    • ‘The man reaching for the bridle saw Kemp and dropped the bridle of his horse like it was a hot poker.’
    • ‘The bewhiskered older man held the bridle of the buggy horse until Sam was settled in his seat.’
    • ‘I unhooked Glory from the crossties and took his halter off, before placing his bridle on and adjusting the straps.’
    • ‘The king ordered eight horses with gold-plaited bridles led into the hall.’
    • ‘She held the horses by their bridles, but as soon as the others neared, she dropped the reins and rushed to the girl.’
    • ‘Theo slipped the bridle onto the horse, and leaned over, picking the book up.’
    • ‘Marcia dismounted and grabbed the bridles of both horses, patting them on the neck to calm them.’
    • ‘He rides her home and ties her up in the stable (or takes the horse for shoeing) before removing the bridle.’
    • ‘I closed my fist around his bridle and stared the horse in the eye.’
    • ‘She buckled the girth quickly and retrieved her bridle.’
    • ‘His female companion went out to the horse, taking its bridle and led it toward the back of the house.’
    • ‘He smiled at me as he fitted the bridle onto the horse's head.’
    • ‘Flags flew on each wagon and there were ribbons on the horses' bridles.’
    1. 1.1A line, rope, or device that is used to restrain or control the action or movement of something.
      • ‘The dream of every cattle farmer in Namibia: to get that coloured rosette on the bull's bridle.’
      • ‘Also shown was a variant in which the brass fence guides were replaced by wooden arms secured by a bridle.’
    2. 1.2Nautical A mooring cable.
      • ‘My first mate retrieved our towing bridle from a locker while Jeff flaked out our anchor line.’
      • ‘They rigged a towing bridle and re-established the tow with the tug.’
      • ‘A deck hand was killed when a tow bridle unexpectedly became taut and pinned her against a tugboat railing.’
      rope, cord, line, guy, piece of cordage
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  • 1[with object] Put a bridle on (a horse)

    ‘five horses, saddled and bridled, were tied by the reins to branches of trees’
    • ‘I'm the only one who can saddle or bridle him without trouble.’
    • ‘Soon after, a saddled and bridled chestnut horse came striding into view.’
    • ‘Occasionally, she would bite at me because she didn't like to be bridled.’
    • ‘Saddling and bridling a horse would be a subject of its own and I will certainly follow up.’
    • ‘After letting the others go, Faye held the one remaining horse's head while her companion bridled him.’
    • ‘As if of some amazing coincidence, a large white gelding broke from the ruins, still saddled and bridled.’
    • ‘He spent days and nights with one catch-horse always bridled, ready to ride down strays.’
    • ‘Her tack was resting on a bale of hay in front of the stall, and soon the mare was saddled and bridled.’
    • ‘I quickly put on the saddle and placed my helmet on before bridling.’
    • ‘Then I placed on my helmet and bridled him quickly.’
    • ‘Maxim had already saddled and bridled both their horses and was waiting patiently.’
    • ‘In the back, behind the inn, their horses were waiting, already saddled and bridled.’
    • ‘In the yard a tangle of horses were being bridled and arranged in rough rows.’
    • ‘She bridled Lady and led both horses out into the rain.’
    • ‘They learn to saddle and bridle the horse, to brush and feed them, and to clean the stall.’
    • ‘There, she found her horse, bridled him, and jumped to his back, not even bothering about a saddle.’
    • ‘Katy suddenly forgot she was now supposed to be bridling her horse.’
    • ‘It was my bay mare, saddled and bridled, and tied by a neck rope to a young tree.’
    • ‘He saddled and bridled Ebony, untied the halter, and led his horse carefully through the trees.’
    • ‘She found Jare after a little bit of hunting and led him back to camp where she bridled him, and mounted.’
    1. 1.1Bring (something) under control; curb.
      ‘the fact that he was their servant bridled his tongue’
      • ‘These symbols of solidarity circumscribe the Amish world and bridle the forces of assimilation.’
      • ‘Phyllis was motivated by vindictiveness; others bridled and saddled men for profit.’
      • ‘Some-one please bridle this infamous brute, before it is too late!’
      • ‘But he hoped that they would be bridled: ‘We can control them,’ he said.’
      • ‘Now, will you allow yourself to be saddled and bridled?’
      curb, restrain, hold back, bite back, control, keep control of, keep in check, check, keep a tight rein on, rein back, rein in
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  • 2[no object] Show one's resentment or anger, especially by throwing up one's head and drawing in one's chin.

    ‘she bridled at his tone’
    • ‘I criticized him on a lot of things, and he took it in stride, but he always bridled if I called him a politician.’
    • ‘At first she seems to bridle at that, but not for long.’
    • ‘Mexico's tequila makers bridled at its touting of Tequiza's tequila base, claiming it was misleading.’
    • ‘Voters also bridle against voting for Franklin D. Roosevelt for an unprecedented third term.’
    • ‘How she had bridled at his unsavory opinion of her.’
    • ‘In his time, Mark Twain bridled over French claims of superiority.’
    • ‘‘I was totally confused by it,’ she says, bridling at the memory.’
    • ‘The investment bankers behind the deals bridle at being portrayed as fast-buck artists.’
    • ‘Naturally, they bridle at suggestions that their pursuit of a European identity is mimicry.’
    • ‘She had an overpowering urge to cry which she bridled.’
    • ‘Taiwan banks, too, bridle against restrictions that bar them from opening offices on the mainland.’
    • ‘In Norfolk, Virginia, he bridles when a white man calls him ‘boy’.’
    • ‘Although she bridles at the stridency of the language, it's all or nothing for this group.’
    • ‘Almost alone among them, Morrissey bridled at the credit he got.’
    • ‘Biographers may bridle at the damage to the reputations of their pet subjects.’
    • ‘The exclusivity of the club means that non-members bridle when they are lectured by the rich and powerful.’
    • ‘Anna bridled at the implication that she couldn't look after herself.’
    • ‘It's as if the job now strikes them as a habit, and I think their fans are bridling at that.’
    • ‘Étienne gets into the cab and immediately bridles at the cabby's rude manner.’
    • ‘Today's students bridle against the academic left's assault on America and American institutions, he argues.’
    bristle, be indignant, become indignant, take offence, take umbrage, be affronted, be offended, get angry, draw oneself up, feel one's hackles rise
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  • off (or on) the bridle


Old English brīdel (noun), brīdlian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch breidel (noun). bridle use is from the action of a horse when reined in.