From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: ferule




A walking stick (c. 1890) with two silver ferrules (sense 1)[n 1]
The brass ferrule (sense 2) of this Japanese knife joins its blade to its handle
The metal ferrules (sense 2.4) 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),[1] 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, “The Ayrsham Mystery”, in The Royal Magazine, volume XIII, London: C[yril] A[rthur] Pearson, →OCLC, 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.
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, “[Episode 1]”, in Ulysses, Paris: Shakespeare and Company, [], →OCLC:
      He walked on, waiting to be spoken to, trailing his ashplant by his side. Its ferrule followed lightly on the path, squealing at his heels.
    • 1934 October, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], Burmese Days, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, →OCLC; republished as chapter 23, in Burmese Days (ebook no. 0200051h.html), Australia: Project Gutenberg Australia, November 2015:
      '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.
      • 1978 August 28, Bill March et al., “Choosing an Ice Ax”, in William Kemsley, Jr., editor, Backpacker, volume 6, number 4, Bedford Hills, N.Y.: Backpacker, Inc., →ISSN, →OCLC, page 54, columns 2–3:
        He [Larry Penberthy] feels metal ice axes are the only safe ones. [] If you do purchase a wood-shafted ax, examine the grain carefully. It should be straight, free of knots and flaws, and continue unbroken from head to ferrule. Rub it often with linseed oil.
  2. A band holding parts of an object together.
    1. A bushing for securing a pipe joint.
      • 2003, Howard C. Massey, “Installing Drainage and Vent Pipes”, in Illustrated Guide to the International Plumbing & Fuel Gas Codes, Carlsbad, Calif.: Craftsman Book Company, →ISBN, page 145, column 1:
        Lead pipe is usually wiped to caulking ferrules so it can be joined to another type of material. Ferrules must be made of red brass.
    2. A metal sleeve placed inside a gutter at the top.
      • 1969 September, Richard Day, “How to Install Gutters and Downspots”, in Robert P. Crossley, editor, Popular Mechanics, volume 132, number 3, New York, N.Y.: The Hearst Corporation, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 169, column 2:
        Another method of attaching gutters is the spike-and-ferrule system. Position the gutter, then temporarily nail it to the fascia with 6d common nails at several places. Place the ferrule inside the gutter at bead height, lined up with the end of a rafter. Drive the spike through the gutter bead, ferrule and fascia board into the rafter.
    3. (billiards) The plastic band attaching the tip to the cue.
      • 1984 August, Walter Tevis, chapter 6, in The Color of Money, New York, N.Y.: Warner Books, →ISBN; republished New York, N.Y.: Warner Books, October 1986, →ISBN, pages 150–151:
        During a short break he clamped the tenon machine to the countertop; then he took a few cues that were in need of repair and began replacing their ferrules. [] By two-thirty, a dozen cues had new white ferrules and leather tips.
    4. (painting) The pinched metal band which holds the bristles of a paintbrush or the eraser of a pencil to the shaft; a similar band crimped as part of a cable terminal or to terminate a hose.
      • 2012, Susan Crabtree, Peter Beudert, “The Painting Tools of Scenic Artistry”, in Scenic Art for the Theatre, 3rd edition, Waltham, Mass., Kidlington, Oxfordshire: Focal Press, →ISBN, part 2 (The Tools of the Trade), page 132:
        The ferrule is the part of the brush that connects the bristles to the handle. The type of ferrule often dictates the name of the brush, such as a 3-inch flat-ferrule or an oval-ferrule sash. [] The ferrule is attached to the handle with small nails (brads) or by crimping the ferrule around the handle.

Derived terms



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.



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

  1. (transitive) To equip with a ferrule.
    • [1866, Ann S[ophia] Stephens, “The Sailor and His Two Companions”, in The Gold Brick, Philadelphia, Pa.: T. B. Peterson and Brothers, [], →OCLC, page 203:
      "District school, I mean," said Dave, with a flourish of the hand. "Where the master or mistress boards about, and ferrules the children with a pine ruler, if they don't toe a crack every spelling time."]
    • 1892 November, “Ships”, in Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers, volume IV, number 4, Washington, D.C.: R. Beresford, printer, →OCLC, 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, 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.


  1. ^ virel, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 24 May 2018.

Further reading