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From Middle Dutch perle, peerle, paerle, parle, presumably via French from Italian perla, from medieval Latin perla, plausibly a diminutive of perna 'clam, pearl', cognate with pearl; alternative derivation from Latin birna 'pear' or beryllus 'beryl' lack plausibility; the letter sense is apparently popular etymology from nonparel, itself from French nonpareille


Alternative forms[edit]


parel c (plural parels or parelen, diminutive pareltje n)

  1. A pearl, a precious, round shelly concretion from oysters or other molluscs
  2. Its imitation
  3. Mother of pearl, the natural material pearls are made from
  4. Anything resembling a pearl's irregular ball-shape, notably a drop of liquid
  5. (figuratively) (One of) the best quality, first pick, the cream
  6. (printing) A small letter type

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