Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A stiff hair.
  • noun A stiff hairlike structure.
  • intransitive verb To stand stiffly on end like bristles.
  • intransitive verb To raise the bristles.
  • intransitive verb To react in an angry or offended manner.
  • intransitive verb To be covered or thick with or as if with bristles.
  • intransitive verb To cause to stand erect like bristles; stiffen.
  • intransitive verb To furnish or supply with bristles.
  • intransitive verb To make bristly; ruffle.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One of the stiff, coarse, glossy hairs of certain animals, especially those of the hog kind which are not hairless, large and thickly set along the back, and smaller and more scattered on the sides.
  • noun A similar appendage on some plants; a stiff, sharp hair.
  • noun In dipterous insects of the division Brachycera, the arista or terminal part of the antenna.
  • noun In ornithology, a bristly feather; a feather with a stout stiff stem and little or no web.
  • To erect the bristles of; erect in anger or defiance, as a hog erects its bristles.
  • To make bristly.
  • To fix a bristle on: as, to bristle a shoemaker's thread.
  • To rise up or stand on end like bristles.
  • To stand erect and close together like bristles.
  • To be covered, as with bristles: as, the ranks bristled with spears. See to bristle with, below.
  • To manifest conspicuously: as, he bristled with excitement.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A short, stiff, coarse hair, as on the back of swine.
  • noun (Bot.) A stiff, sharp, roundish hair.
  • transitive verb To erect the bristles of; to cause to stand up, as the bristles of an angry hog; -- sometimes with up.
  • transitive verb To fix a bristle to.
  • intransitive verb To rise or stand erect, like bristles.
  • intransitive verb To appear as if covered with bristles; to have standing, thick and erect, like bristles.
  • intransitive verb To show defiance or indignation.
  • intransitive verb to show anger or defiance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A stiff or coarse hair.
  • noun The hair or straws that make up a brush, broom, or similar item.
  • noun slang A humorous misspelling of Bristol, in imitation of the local dialect in the English city of that name,
  • verb To be on one's guard or raise one's defenses; to react with fear, suspicion, or distance.

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

  • verb be in a state of movement or action
  • verb react in an offended or angry manner
  • verb rise up as in fear
  • noun a stiff hair
  • verb have or be thickly covered with or as if with bristles
  • noun a stiff fiber (coarse hair or filament); natural or synthetic

Etymologies

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

[Middle English bristel, probably from Old English *byrstel, from byrst, bristle.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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’).

Examples

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