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Bristle means to react defensively or angrily to something, typically by displaying signs of irritation or indignation. It’s like a sudden and instinctive response to a perceived threat or challenge, often characterized by a stiffening of the body or a raising of the hairs. Imagine it as the way a cat’s fur stands on end when it feels threatened, or the way a person’s demeanor becomes tense and prickly when they feel provoked.

When someone bristles, they may visibly stiffen or become tense, indicating their displeasure or discomfort with a situation. It could involve reacting sharply to criticism, defiance in response to authority, or a defensive posture in the face of confrontation. Bristling is a natural reaction to feeling challenged or threatened and serves as a warning signal to others to proceed with caution.

Bristle also refers to the stiff, coarse hairs found on certain animals or brushes. These hairs are often rigid and pointed, have a rough texture, and serve various functions depending on the context. Imagine the bristles of a brush used for cleaning, which effectively sweep away dirt and debris due to their firmness and structure.

When referring to animal bristles, such as those found on a porcupine or a boar’s back, they serve as a form of defense or insulation. These hairs can stand erect when the animal feels threatened, making them appear larger and more intimidating to potential predators. Similarly, brushes with stiff bristles are commonly used for grooming or scrubbing tasks, where their abrasive texture helps to remove dirt and detangle hair.

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