Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A harness, consisting of a headstall, bit, and reins, fitted about a horse's head and used to restrain or guide the animal.
  • n. A curb or check: put a bridle on spending.
  • n. Nautical A span of chain, wire, or rope that can be secured at both ends to an object and slung from its center point.
  • transitive v. To put a bridle on.
  • transitive v. To control or restrain with or as if with a bridle. See Synonyms at restrain.
  • intransitive v. To lift the head and draw in the chin as an expression of scorn or resentment.
  • intransitive v. To show anger or resentment; take offense: bridling at the criticism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The headgear with which a horse is directed and which carries a bit and reins.
  • n. A length of line or cable attached to two parts of something to spread the force of a pull, as the rigging on a kite for attaching line.
  • v. To put a bridle on.
  • v. To check, restrain, or control with, or as if with, a bridle; as in bridle your tongue.
  • v. To show hostility or resentment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The head gear with which a horse is governed and restrained, consisting of a headstall, a bit, and reins, with other appendages.
  • n. A restraint; a curb; a check.
  • n. The piece in the interior of a gun lock, which holds in place the tumbler, sear, etc.
  • n.
  • n. A span of rope, line, or chain made fast as both ends, so that another rope, line, or chain may be attached to its middle.
  • n. A mooring hawser.
  • intransitive v. To hold up the head, and draw in the chin, as an expression of pride, scorn, or resentment; to assume a lofty manner; -- usually with up.
  • transitive v. To put a bridle upon; to equip with a bridle.
  • transitive v. To restrain, guide, or govern, with, or as with, a bridle; to check, curb, or control.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To put a bridle on: as, to brīdle a horse.
  • To restrain, guide, or govern; check, curb, or control: as, to bridle the passions.
  • Synonyms To repress, master, subdue.
  • To hold the head up, in the manner of a spirited horse under a strong rein, especially as an expression of pride, scorn, or resentment; assume a lofty manner so as to assert one's dignity or express indignation; toss the head; strut: generally with up.
  • To connect; join as by a bridle: as draft-rollers (in cotton-manufacturing) that are yoked together.
  • n. That portion of the gear or harness of a horse (or other animal similarly used) which is fitted to its head, and by which it is governed and restrained, consisting usually of a head-stall, a bit, and reins, with other appendages, according to its particular form and uses. See cut under harness.
  • n. An old instrument of punishment and restraint for scolds: a simpler form of the branks.
  • n. Figuratively, a restraint; a curb; a check.
  • n. The piece in the interior of a gun-lock which covers and holds in place the tumbler and sear, being itself held by the screws on which they turn. See cut under gun-lock.
  • n. The piece on the end of a plow-beam to which the draftshackle is attached; the clevis. Also called muzzle or plow-head.
  • n. In machinery, a link, flange, or other attachment for limiting the movement of any part of a machine.
  • n. Nautical, a chain or rope span both ends of which are made fast, the strain or power being applied to the bight.
  • n. In pathology, a small band attaching two parts to each other, as two serous surfaces after inflammation, or the sides of the urethra after urethritis, or stretched across a pustule or vesicle, modifying its shape.
  • n. In anatomy, a frenum (which see).
  • n. An arrangement by which a large kite, used in aërial observations, is attached to the steel wire by which it is held.
  • n. A device for controlling the speed of logs on a skid-road.
  • n. In certain cephalopods, one of the bands which attach the funnel to the head.
  • n. In pianoforte-making. Same as bridle-tape.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. put a bridle on
  • n. the act of restraining power or action or limiting excess
  • n. headgear for a horse; includes a headstall and bit and reins to give the rider or driver control
  • v. anger or take offense
  • v. respond to the reins, as of horses

Etymologies

Middle English bridel, from Old English brīdel.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English brīdel, from Proto-Germanic *brigdilaz (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Jenny twitched the bridle from the perspiring groom and minced up to the prisoner.

    The Black Moth: A Romance of the XVIII Century

  • I ceased treating her too kindly - snubbing, and riding with a curb-bridle, is what she needs.

    Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle

  • Yet I dare say the chorus of a musical comedy would not be awestruck -- would, indeed, 'bridle' -- if one unrolled to them their illustrious pedigree.

    Yet Again

  • As a jetski it's a big fail, but it would make a half way decent horse head if it was all brown and the bridle was a bit less...um...bondagey.

    Cue Cards, Please?

  • The reins were secured by chain-work, and the front-stall of the bridle was a steel plate, with apertures for the eyes and nostrils, having in the midst a short, sharp pike, projecting from the forehead of the horse like the horn of the fabulous unicorn.

    The Talisman

  • The old saddles are tied on with twine; one side of the bridle is a worn-out strap and the other a rope.

    A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains

  • McLellan cavalry saddle, with a battered brass peak, and the bridle is a rotten leather strap on one side and a strand of rope on the other.

    A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains

  • At the next change a bridle was a thing unheard of, and when I suggested that the creature would open her mouth voluntarily if the bit were pressed close to her teeth, the standers-by mockingly said,

    Unbeaten Tracks in Japan

  • There was a ribbon hanging under her chin which the old lady called a bridle, and when

    Glenloch Girls

  • Fig. 78 is a so-called bridle-joint at the corner of a frame.

    Woodwork Joints How they are Set Out, How Made and Where Used.

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Comments

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  • Shake a bridle over a Yorkshireman's grave, and he will arise and steal a horse. -- an old saying recorded by Grose in his 1787 A Provincial Glossary, presumably "an allusion to the fondness for horses, shewn by almost every native of this county."

    May 3, 2011

  • noun--part of a horse's harness
    intransitive verb--to show offence

    July 17, 2007