Definition of bristle in English:

bristle

noun

usually bristles
  • 1A short, stiff hair on an animal's skin or a man's face.

    • ‘He strokes his servant's beard, enjoying the feel of soft bristles against the palm of his hand.’
    • ‘I haven't shaved for the day, so short bristles of my beard pepper my chin.’
    • ‘He felt the rough bristles of its hide scouring his own furless skin.’
    • ‘Golden bristles stubbled his cheeks and jaw and his hair needed a quick comb.’
    • ‘His lip, covered with short bristles, quavered slightly.’
    • ‘He followed the contours of my ears and felt the bristles of my beard.’
    hair, whisker
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    1. 1.1 A stiff animal hair, or a man-made substitute, used to make a brush:
      ‘a toothbrush with nylon bristles’
      [mass noun] ‘the heads are made with natural bristle’
      • ‘How else are we to understand the streaks made as she drags her brush's bristles through viscous paint?’
      • ‘Place the bristles of the toothbrush where the teeth and gums meet.’
      • ‘Try a brush with synthetic bristles, not natural ones.’
      • ‘Use a paintbrush comb or small wire brush to clean the bristles.’
      • ‘While brushing, place the bristles at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and slide the tips of the brush under the gums.’
      • ‘For better results, use a natural bristle brush for more delicate items.’
      • ‘Apply the finish with a natural bristle brush in a steady and smooth manner.’
      • ‘He reaches down to grab his tooth brush, and then holds the bristles under the water.’
      • ‘Oil-base paints, enamels, varnishes, most stains and lacquers should be applied with a natural bristle brush.’
      • ‘The full bristle - brush lifts the dirt in an upward motion to the surface.’
      • ‘She sighed, playing with the bristles of the brush.’
      • ‘I thought of the infinite possibilities as I scrubbed, focusing on the bubbles the bristles of the brush made.’
      • ‘The use of a high quality natural bristle brush is recommended to lay on a furniture finish.’
      • ‘It is recommended that natural bristle brushes never be used with latex coatings.’
      • ‘Use a natural bristle brush, which works the stain into carvings and corners easier than a rag.’
      • ‘The cleaning of the micro-mesh screen is aided by the inclusion of a nylon bristle brush.’
      • ‘Use a natural bristle brush and avoid stretching the hair when wet.’
      • ‘Flip your head back up then smooth the top layer of your hair with a natural bristle brush.’
      • ‘A brush with millions of bristles was tickling my face.’
      • ‘When the candlesticks have cooled, use a bristle or foam brush to paint them.’
      • ‘Start by using a soft boar's head brush or similar natural bristle brush on your hair.’
      prickle, spine, quill, thorn, barb
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verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1(of hair or fur) stand upright away from the skin, typically as a sign of anger or fear:

    ‘the hair on the back of his neck bristled’
    • ‘The wolfish creature padded like a soldier down the hall, its fur bristling and its head held high by its broad chest.’
    • ‘My hair bristled and I felt all my muscles twitch spasmodically.’
    • ‘She could feel her short hair bristling against her chin and cheeks.’
    • ‘The hairs on Rolando's neck bristled and he trembled with fear but continued to run after her.’
    • ‘She stood with her fur bristling as she watched a form race across the hills towards them.’
    • ‘Her ruff, all her fur bristled and her claws were unsheathed.’
    • ‘Ayane shot up to a sitting position, back ramrod-straight and fur bristling.’
    • ‘I turned into a tiger and roared, feeling the sinews under my skin tighten, and my adopted whiskers bristle.’
    • ‘Her fur bristled in surprise, but she smiled at me when she turned.’
    • ‘Now his fur bristled again, although not with pride.’
    • ‘Her fur bristled, Ki's bright orange eyes shot to the door.’
    • ‘Her eyes were phosphorus green and her fur bristled up.’
    • ‘Elanor was peering in the doorway, her fur bristling.’
    • ‘He seemed a little taken aback, sat and listened with fur bristling, one hand stroking the back of the other.’
    • ‘The fledgling stiffened, feathers bristling as though roused by a gale.’
    • ‘My fur bristled as I could tell that wolves had surrounded the clearing.’
    • ‘It stood in the middle of the road now, its gray fur bristling and its yellowed teeth bared.’
    • ‘Its passionate verve makes your hair bristle with sheer pleasure.’
    • ‘His spiky black hair bristled as he ran to catch up with Kia's team.’
    • ‘He looked down at Ace whose fur was bristling and her teeth and claws were bared.’
    rise, stand up, stand on end
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    1. 1.1 (of an animal) react in such a way that its hair or fur stands on end:
      ‘the cat bristled in annoyance’
      • ‘But in the corner the ape was bristling, and a certain point he snapped.’
      • ‘The cats sat right on the door frame, tensely bristling at the world beyond.’
      • ‘The tall, dark stranger strode towards Alita as the wolf bristled and growled.’
      • ‘There was a dark colored flash and a few seconds later the wolf stood there, his tail bristled and red eyes glaring.’
      • ‘The Lizard's tail suddenly bristled up into spikes and formed into sharp icicles!’
    2. 1.2 (of a person) react angrily or defensively:
      ‘she bristled at his rudeness’
      • ‘Lewis bristles at the suggestion he's here to legitimize his acting.’
      • ‘He's positively bristling about the government's failure to react to the crisis.’
      • ‘Ambrose was bristling in anger at the doctor's comment, so for a moment he could say nothing.’
      • ‘Her lawyers bristled at suggestions there may be no other willing witnesses to bring.’
      • ‘Daniel bristled at the Captain's accusation, ‘What girl?’’
      • ‘‘You make us sound like pets,’ said Ternora, bristling a little.’
      • ‘He also bristled at claims that the organization did not view medical privacy as a priority issue.’
      • ‘At a press conference, the foreign secretary bristled at the suggestion he would be taking a message to New Delhi.’
      • ‘Josh bristled as he said in defense, ‘Not all of us used violent means.’’
      • ‘There was a subtle change in Adair towards defensive and Tristin stared at her as she almost bristled at him.’
      • ‘Watching him disheveled and obviously bristled, the messenger wondered who would fall prey to his rage.’
      • ‘She forced herself not to react visibly, but she bristled despite her efforts.’
      • ‘The actors bristle at the notion that this sentiment will alienate a patriotic American audience.’
      • ‘Dahlia was not uncomfortable, she was bristling - seething.’
      • ‘The young soldier bristled at being called a child.’
      • ‘Andrew bristled at being told what his subject was and wasn't going to do.’
      • ‘Patrick bristled at the words, but could find no hidden insult, nor could he think of an objection to the statement.’
      • ‘Now her trim form bristled, like a cat about to attack.’
      • ‘She visably bristled when pressed about how tiny Tom is.’
      • ‘Enron officials have bristled at criticism that they aren't working quickly enough.’
      get angry, become infuriated, be furious, be maddened, bridle, become indignant, be irritated, get one's hackles up, have one's hackles up, feel one's hackles rise, rear up, draw oneself up, flare up, see red
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  • 2bristle withBe covered with or abundant in:

    ‘the roof bristled with antennae’
    • ‘He never merely asserts: every paragraph bristles with footnotes and quiet exposition.’
    • ‘In the beginning, the area had been crawling with soldiers and bristling with guns.’
    • ‘She sat propped up in bed, bristling with tubes, and called to each of us by name.’
    • ‘Our finalists, listed below, were an unusually eclectic group this year, bristling with personality.’
    • ‘At the horse's feet, a pallet fence bristles with lances; their bearers have vanished away.’
    • ‘True sore winners, they bristled with outrage at being judged for their results, not their professed intentions.’
    • ‘Built to last, they bristle with every modern convenience.’
    • ‘The screen bristles with sanctimonious speeches, but the same slogans echo relentlessly.’
    • ‘It's nondescript, faceless - yet bristling with hubris.’
    • ‘It bristled with raw jalapeño, cut slightly by the rich cream sauce.’
    • ‘Our boats bristled with cudgels, axes, knives, and machetes.’
    • ‘In his experience the airwaves are bristling with talk of drug use.’
    • ‘The top and outer face of the wall are bristling with bamboo spikes.’
    • ‘His voice bristled with practised conviction.’
    • ‘They bristled with weapons and were covered from head to foot in thick armor.’
    • ‘The new songs bristle with an excitement and immediacy that demand attention.’
    • ‘The newspaper's office, a few kilometres away, is far from spiffy, even as it bristles with strategy ideas.’
    • ‘This fall's literary landscape fairly bristles with weirdness, perversion, and subversion.’
    • ‘‘I don't care,’ I shot back at her, bristling with rage.’
    • ‘Their Internet sites bristle with purported official documents that detail and expose alleged plots.’
    abound, swarm, teem, crawl, overflow, hum, be alive, be packed, be crowded, be thronged, be jammed, be infested, be full, be covered
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Origin

Middle English: from Old English byrst (of Germanic origin, related to German Borste) + -le.

Pronunciation

bristle

/ˈbrɪs(ə)l/