AskDefine | Define brindled

Dictionary Definition

brindled adj : having a gray or brown streak or a pattern or a patchy coloring; used especially of the patterned fur of cats [syn: brindle, brinded, tabby]

User Contributed Dictionary



An alteration of brinded, probably by association with speckled, grizzled etc.




  1. of a brownish, tawny colour, with streaks or spots; streaky, spotted
    • 1904: And there, in the middle of it was the man himself—his face twisted like a lost soul in torment, and his great brindled beard stuck upwards in his agony. — Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘The Adventure of Black Peter’ (Norton 2005, p.982)

Extensive Definition

''This article concerns animal color. For the village in England, see Brindle, Lancashire.
Brindle is a coat coloring pattern in animals, particularly dogs, cats, cattle, and, rarely, horses. It is sometimes described as "tiger striped", although the brindle pattern is more subtle than that of a tiger's coat. The streaks of color are usually darker than the base coat, which is often tawny or grayish, although very dark markings can be seen on a coat that is only slightly lighter.
The brindle pattern may also take the place of tan in tricolor coats of some dog breeds (such as Basenjis). This coloration looks very similar to tricolor, and can only be distinguished at close range. Dogs of this color are often described as "trindle". It can also occur in combination with blue merle in the points, or as a brindle merle, in breeds such as the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, though the latter is not acceptable in the show ring.
In horses, brindle coloring is extremely rare and may be either caused by or somehow linked to chimerism, resulting in an animal with two sets of DNA, with the brindle pattern being an expression of two different sets of equine coat color genes in one horse.


The word brindle comes from brindled, originally brinded, from an old Scandinavian word. See Wiktionary. The concept occurs in the opening of 'Pied Beauty' (1877) by Gerard Manley Hopkins, a poem about dappled, streaky, subtly-varied Nature, where he compares 'skies of couple-colour' to a 'brinded cow'.
The opening of Act Four, Scene One of William Shakespeare's Macbeth is:
"Thrice the brindled cat hath mewed," ...
brindled in Swedish: Brindle
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