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A walking stick (c. 1890) with two silver ferrules (sense 1)[1]
The brass ferrule (sense 2) of this Japanese knife joins its blade to its handle
The metal ferrules (sense 2.5) of these paintbrushes hold the bristles of the brushes to their shafts

From Middle English verel, virel, virole (ferrule; metal pivot on the end of an axle),[2] altered under the influence of Latin ferrum (iron), from Old French virole (ferrule), from Latin viriola (little bracelet), diminutive of viria (bracelet worn by men), from Gaulish, from Proto-Celtic *wēros (crooked) (compare Middle Irish fiar (bent, crooked), Welsh gŵyr, Breton gwar (curved)), from Proto-Indo-European *weyh₁ros (threaded, turned, twisted), from *weyh₁- (to turn, twist, weave).



ferrule (plural ferrules)

  1. A band or cap (usually metal) placed around a shaft to reinforce it or to prevent splitting. [from early 17th c.]
    • 1904, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 2, in The Ayrsham Mystery, volume XIII, London: C[yril] A[rthur] Pearson, OCLC 9342412, chapter II, page 261; republished as The Case of Miss Elliott, Kelly Bray, Cornwall: House of Stratus, Stratus Books, 2008, →ISBN, page 164:
      The cane was produced in court; it was as stout as an old-fashioned club, and of terrific weight. The man who wielded it must have been very powerful, for he had only dealt one blow, but that blow had cracked the old man's skull. The cane was undoubtedly of foreign make, for it had a solid silver ferrule at one end, which was not English hall–marked.
    • 1934 October, George Orwell, chapter 23, in Burmese Days (Project Gutenberg Australia; ebook no. 0200051h.html), New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, published November 2015, OCLC 1810828:
      'Butler! Send my rickshaw round to the front at once! To the station, jaldi!' she added as the rickshaw-man appeared, and, having settled herself in the rickshaw, poked him in the back with the ferrule of her umbrella to start him.
    • 1986, William Gibson, Count Zero, New York, N.Y.: Arbor House, →ISBN:
      Lucas withdrew the cane. Its polished ferrule flashed in the lantern glare.
    1. (specifically, climbing) The metal spike at the end of the shaft of an ice axe.
  2. A band holding parts of an object together.
    1. A bushing for securing a pipe joint.
    2. A metal sleeve placed inside a gutter at the top.
    3. (billiards) The plastic band attaching the tip to the cue.
    4. (painting) The pinched metal band which holds the bristles of a paintbrush to the shaft.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


ferrule (third-person singular simple present ferrules, present participle ferruling, simple past and past participle ferruled)

  1. To equip with a ferrule.
    • 1892 November, “Ships”, in Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers, volume IV, number 4, Washington, D.C.: R. Beresford, printer, OCLC 780166707, page 837:
      The return of the Thunderer from her protracted steam trial to Madeira has removed all doubt with regard to the efficacy of the new patent ferrule, as applied to boiler tubes. [] In fact, the highly successful results of the trial will, no doubt, lead to the universal practice of ferruling the boiler tubes in all our war vessels fitted with forced draft.
    • 1902, The English Mechanic and World of Science, volume 74, London: E. J. Kibblewhite, OCLC 8963383, page 42:
      I employed a practical boiler smith, who expanded and ferruled the tubes.
    • 2011, Jerry Aaron, “The Fork in the Road”, in Diesel Smoke over Asphalt Ribbons: Dreams in the Rearview Mirror, Sparks, Nev.: Jerry Aaron, →ISBN, page 130, column 1:
      Once inside the shop he took the line and cut the bad end off and with that done, he attempted to ferrule the cut end.


  1. ^ From the collection of the Auckland War Memorial Museum in Auckland, New Zealand.
  2. ^ virel, n.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 24 May 2018.

Further reading[edit]