purl

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Etymology uncertain; apparently related to Scots and dialect pirl ("twist, ripple, whirl, spin"), and possibly to Older Scots pyrl ("thrust or poke at"). Compare Venetian pirlo, an embellishment where the woven threads are twisted together. May be unrelated to purfle, though the meanings are similar.

Noun[edit]

purl (plural purls)

  1. A particular stitch in knitting; an inversion of stitches giving the work a ribbed or waved appearance.
  2. The edge of lace trimmed with loops.
  3. An embroidered and puckered border; a hem or fringe, often of gold or silver twist; also, a pleat or fold, as of a band.
    • Sir Philip Sidney
      A triumphant chariot made of carnation velvet, enriched with purl and pearl.
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

purl (third-person singular simple present purls, present participle purling, simple past and past participle purled)

  1. To decorate with fringe or embroidered edge
    Needlework purled with gold.
  2. (knitting) an inverted stitch producing ribbing etc
    Knit one, purl two.

Etymology 2[edit]

from Middle English pirle (whirligig), Middle Italian pirla (whipping top)

Noun[edit]

purl (plural purls)

  1. a heavy or headlong fall; an upset.

Verb[edit]

purl (third-person singular simple present purls, present participle purling, simple past and past participle purled)

  1. (archaic) To upset, to spin, capsize, fall heavily, fall headlong.
    The huntsman was purled from his horse.
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Old Norse purla (to babble)

Verb[edit]

purl (third-person singular simple present purls, present participle purling, simple past and past participle purled)

  1. (intransitive) To flow with a murmuring sound in swirls and eddies.
    • Alexander Pope
      Swift o'er the rolling pebbles, down the hills, / Louder and louder purl the falling rills.
  2. To rise in circles, ripples, or undulations; to curl; to mantle.
    • Shakespeare
      thin winding breath which purled up to the sky

Noun[edit]

purl (plural purls)

  1. (UK, dialect) A circle made by the motion of a fluid; an eddy; a ripple.
    • Drayton
      Whose stream an easy breath doth seem to blow, / Which on the sparkling gravel runs in purles, / As though the waves had been of silver curls.
  2. (UK, dialect) A gentle murmuring sound, such as that produced by the running of a liquid among obstructions.
    the purl of a brook

Etymology 4[edit]

Possibly from the pearl-like appearance caused by bubbles on the surface of the liquid.

Noun[edit]

purl (uncountable)

  1. (archaic) Ale or beer spiced with wormwood or other bitter herbs, regarded as a tonic.
    • The Spectator, number 88
      A double mug of purle.
  2. (archaic) Hot beer mixed with gin, sugar, and spices.
    • Addison
      Drank a glass of purl to recover appetite.
    • Charles Dickens
      Drinking hot purl, and smoking pipes.

Etymology 5[edit]

Noun[edit]

purl (plural purls)

  1. (UK, dialect) A tern.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.

Anagrams[edit]