adjective, bristlier, bristliest.
covered or rough with bristles.
like or resembling bristles.
easily antagonized; irascible: a bristly person with few friends.

1585–95; bristle + -y1

bristliness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bristle (ˈbrɪsəl)
1.  any short stiff hair of an animal or plant
2.  something resembling these hair: toothbrush bristle
vb (when intr, often foll by up) (sometimes foll by up)
3.  to stand up or cause to stand up like bristles: the angry cat's fur bristled
4.  to show anger, indignation, etc: she bristled at the suggestion
5.  (intr) to be thickly covered or set: the target bristled with arrows
6.  (intr) to be in a state of agitation or movement: the office was bristling with activity
7.  (tr) to provide with a bristle or bristles
[C13 bristil, brustel, from earlier brust, from Old English byrst; related to Old Norse burst, Old High German borst]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1590s, from bristle + -y (2). Figurative sense is recorded from 1872.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Leaves are harshly bristly above, sometimes with densely interwoven hairs.
Most domestic pigs have sparse coats, but descendants of escapees grow thick bristly hair in cold environments.
Bristly pods on the tree contain dozens of seeds surrounded by pulp.
He has bristly graying hair retreating casually back from his broad forehead.
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