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From Old French porfiler, from Latin pro- + filum (thread).



purfle (plural purfles)

  1. An ornamental border on clothing, furniture or a violin; beading, stringing.


purfle (third-person singular simple present purfles, present participle purfling, simple past and past participle purfled)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To decorate (wood, cloth etc.) with a purfle or ornamental border; to border.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book I:
      For kyng Ryons had purfyled a mantel with kynges berdes, and there lacked one place of the mantel, wherefor he sente for his berd [...].
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene:
      Purfled with gold of rich assay.
    • 1885, Sir Richard Burton, The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad in The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, vol. 1:
      It came to pass on a certain day, as he stood about the street leaning idly upon his crate, behold, there stood before him an honourable woman in a mantilla of Mosul silk, broidered with gold and bordered with brocade; her walking shoes were also purfled with gold and her hair floated in long plaits.
    • 2003, Tom Robbins, Villa Incognito,
      Remembering the exchange now, Dickie smiled that winning southern-boy smile. Then he went glum again. He thumped the purfled sound board.
  2. (heraldry, transitive) To ornament with a bordure of ermines, furs, etc. or with gold studs or mountings.


Related terms[edit]