AskDefine | Define bristle

Dictionary Definition



1 a stiff fiber (coarse hair or filament); natural or synthetic
2 a stiff hair


1 be in a state of movement or action; "The room abounded with screaming children"; "The garden bristled with toddlers" [syn: abound, burst]
2 rise up as in fear; "The dog's fur bristled"; "It was a sight to make one's hair uprise!" [syn: uprise, stand up]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A stiff or coarse hair.
  2. The hair or straws that make up a brush, broom, or similar item.
  3. A humorous misspelling of Bristol, in imitation of the local dialect in the English city of that name,
    • Krek Waiter, Peak Bristle.
      Correct Way to Speak Bristol.



  1. 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.

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

A bristle is a stiff hair or feather. Also used are synthetic materials such as nylon or straw in items such as brooms and sweepers. Bristles are often used to make brushes for cleaning uses, as they are strongly abrasive; common examples include the toothbrush and toilet brush. The Bristle Brush is a common household cleaning tool, often used to remove dirt or grease from pots and pans.

Variations of bristle in the animal kingdom

Bristles are found on pig breeds instead of fur on most mammals. Because the density is less than with fur, pigs are vulnerable to sunburn. One breed, the Tamworth Pig is endowed with a very dense bristle structure such that sunburn damage to skin is minimized. Animals named for their bristles include bristlebirds, the Bristle-thighed Curlew, the Bristle-spined Porcupine, and the Trinity bristle snail. Bristles also anchor worms to the soil to help the worm move.
bristle in German: Borstenhaar

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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