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bridle Syllabification: bri·dle
Pronunciation: /ˈbrīdl/

Definition of bridle in English:


Image of bridle
1The headgear used to control a horse, consisting of buckled straps to which a bit and reins are attached.
Example sentences
  • The king ordered eight horses with gold-plaited bridles led into the hall.
  • The man reaching for the bridle saw Kemp and dropped the bridle of his horse like it was a hot poker.
  • Lila nodded and offered them two horses' bridles.
1.1A line, rope, or device that is used to restrain or control the action or movement of something.
Example sentences
  • Also shown was a variant in which the brass fence guides were replaced by wooden arms secured by a bridle.
  • The dream of every cattle farmer in Namibia: to get that coloured rosette on the bull's bridle.
1.2 Nautical A length of rope, chain, or cable fastened at both ends to an object that is to be secured or moved or to a vessel that is to do the towing, a pull being exerted at the center of its length.
Example sentences
  • My first mate retrieved our towing bridle from a locker while Jeff flaked out our anchor line.
  • A deck hand was killed when a tow bridle unexpectedly became taut and pinned her against a tugboat railing.
  • They rigged a towing bridle and re-established the tow with the tug.


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1 [with object] (usually be bridled) Put a bridle on (a horse).
Example sentences
  • Saddling and bridling a horse would be a subject of its own and I will certainly follow up.
  • Maxim had already saddled and bridled both their horses and was waiting patiently.
  • They learn to saddle and bridle the horse, to brush and feed them, and to clean the stall.
1.1Bring (something) under control; curb: the fact that he was their servant bridled his tongue
More example sentences
  • Some-one please bridle this infamous brute, before it is too late!
  • These symbols of solidarity circumscribe the Amish world and bridle the forces of assimilation.
  • But he hoped that they would be bridled: ‘We can control them,’ he said.
curb, restrain, hold back, control, check, rein in/back;
informal keep a/the lid on
2 [no object] Show one’s resentment or anger, especially by throwing up the head and drawing in the chin: ranchers have bridled at excessive federal control
More example sentences
  • Anna bridled at the implication that she couldn't look after herself.
  • How she had bridled at his unsavory opinion of her.
  • Almost alone among them, Morrissey bridled at the credit he got.
bristle, take offense, take umbrage, be affronted, be offended, get angry


Old English brīdel (noun), brīdlian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch breidel (noun). sense 2 of the verb use is from the action of a horse when reined in.


off the bridle

see bit3.

on the bridle

see bit3.

Words that rhyme with bridle

bridal, fratricidal, genocidal, germicidal, homicidal, idle, idol, infanticidal, insecticidal, intertidal, matricidal, parricidal, patricidal, pesticidal, regicidal, sidle, suicidal, tidal, tyrannicidal, uxoricidal

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