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bristling (adj) (of hair of humans and animals) becoming stiff and erect; tense with fear and anger.

When an animal is frightened or angry, its hair, especially on the back or on the neck becomes stiff and stands erect, we say that the animal is bristling with anger or fear. A person is bristling with anger or fear when they become suddenly angry or are frightened, when they are tense with anger at what somebody has said or done.

  • As he wandered through the jungle, he had the rare experience of watching a porcupine puffing its body and its quills bristling.
  • All alone in the spacious house, away from the nearest house by at least a mile, Christina that night was bristling with fear at every noise that she heard.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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