See also: Bristle

English

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Etymology

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From Middle English bristil, bristel, brustel, from Old English bristl, byrst, *brystl, *byrstel, from Proto-West Germanic *burstilu, diminutive of Proto-West Germanic *bursti, from Proto-Germanic *burstiz (compare Dutch borstel, German Borste (boar's bristle), Icelandic burst), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰr̥stís (compare Middle Irish brostaid (to goad, spur), Latin fastīgium (top), Polish barszcz (hogweed)), equivalent to brust +‎ -le.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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bristle (plural bristles)

  1. A stiff or coarse hair, usually and especially on a nonhuman mammal.
    the bristles of a pig
  2. A chaeta: an analogous filament on arthropods, annelids, or other animals.
  3. The hairs or other filaments that make up a brush, broom, or similar item, typically made from plant cellulose, animal hairs, or synthetic polymers.

Derived terms

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Translations

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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb

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bristle (third-person singular simple present bristles, present participle bristling, simple past and past participle bristled)

  1. (intransitive) To rise or stand erect, like bristles.
  2. (intransitive, usually with with) To abound, to be covered with, or to have an abundance of, something, especially something jutting out.
  3. (intransitive, usually with at or with) 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.
    • c. 1596 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Life and Death of King Iohn”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene iii]:
      Now for the bare-picked bone of majesty / Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest.
    • 2013 June 22, “Engineers of a different kind”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8841, page 70:
      Private-equity nabobs bristle at being dubbed mere financiers. Piling debt onto companies’ balance-sheets is only a small part of what leveraged buy-outs are about, they insist. Improving the workings of the businesses they take over is just as core to their calling, if not more so. Much of their pleading is public-relations bluster.
    • 2021 May 5, Barry Doe, “The Independent has a better grasp than GWR's spokesman”, in RAIL, number 930, page 58:
      If only the industry could be honest and explain why it has been forced, owing to government policies, to increase fares over the quarter century since privatisation. Instead, it is defensive and clearly bristles with annoyance when someone merely states the facts.
  4. (transitive, now rare or obsolete) To make (something) rise or stand erect, like bristles. [from 16th-early 20th c.]
    • 1621, Philippus Camerarius, “Of the heroicall nature of Lions , tormented in ſome Conntreys with Gnats to the death” (chapter II), in Iohn Molle, transl., The Living Librarie, or, Meditations and Observations Historical, Natural,Moral, Political, and Poetical, London:  [] Adam Islip, page 77:
      The lion is let looſe inthe night, and the Earle hauing a night-gowne caſt ouer his ſhirt, with his girdle and ſword, and ſo comming downe the ſtaires into the court, meeteth with the lion briſtling his haire, and roaring.
    • 1627, “The Second Booke”, in A Relation of a Iourney begun An. Dom. 1610.  [], 3rd edition, London:  [] Ro. Allot, page 101:
      As for the Icnumon, hee hath but onely chāged his name;now called the Rat of Nilus.A beaſt particular to Ægypt,about the bigneſſe of a Cat, and as cleanly: ſnowted like a Ferret , but that blacke and without long haire,ſharpe tootht,round eard,ſhort legd,long taild (being thicke where it ioynes to the body,and ſpinie at the end)his haire ſharpe, hard,and branded, briſtling it vp when angry, and then will flye vpon a maſtiffe.
    • 1631, Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas, “The Tropheis.  []”, in Iosvah Sylvester, transl., Du Bartas: His Deuine Weekes And Workes  [], page 196, column 1:
      As,when(at Cock-pit)two old Cocks doe fight,
      (Briſtling their Plumes,&(red with rage)do ſmite []
  5. (transitive, uncommon) To cause (someone) to be on one's guard or raise one's defenses.
    Your blatant attitude always bristles me.
    • 1996, Guest Worker Programs:  [], United States Government Publishing Office, page 116:
      Mr. Berman, you know me well enough to know that I—and it just bristles me when I hear agriculture thrown into one lump basket, that we’re a bunch of crooks and treat our workers bad, because that is not the case. I have—I wish you could talk to some of my farm workers.
    • 2016 November, Lauren Blakely, Out of Bounds, Bloomsbury Publishing, page 65:
      I scowl. “Pretty sure women are not explicitly forbidden in my contract.”
      He lowers his voice. “No, but it’s good to be cautious when you're trying to rehab a public image.”
      Something about the comment bristles me. “Hey, it’s not my image. I’ve always been good.”
    • 2021 February, Phoenix LeFae, Gwion Raven, Life Ritualized: A Witch's Guide to Honoring Life's Important Moments, Llewellyn Worldwide, page 135:
      When we take on a new name, it can be hard for other people to get used to. [] But if someone new in my life calls me that old name, it bristles me. That's not who I am.
    • 2021 April, Terry Westby-Nunn, The Artist Vanishes, Penguin Random House South Africa, page 159:
      ‘No. I don’t believe in wasting my money on crap like that.’
      ‘It’s not your money, it’s mine.’ I can see the comment bristles him; he feels inadequate: his daughter is wealthier than he’s ever been.
  6. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) To fix a bristle to.
    to bristle a thread

Derived terms

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Translations

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References

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  • bristle”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.
  1. ^ Bingham, Caleb (1808) “Improprieties in Pronunciation, common among the people of New-England”, in The Child's Companion; Being a Conciſe Spelling-book [] [1], 12th edition, Boston: Manning & Loring, →OCLC, page 74.
  2. ^ Hans Kurath and Raven Ioor McDavid (1961). The pronunciation of English in the Atlantic States: based upon the collections of the linguistic atlas of the Eastern United States. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, p. 130.
  3. ^ Jones, M. Jean (1973 August) The Regional English of the Former Inhabitants of Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains[2], University of Tennessee, Knoxville, page 102.

Anagrams

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