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Perhaps from Old French ferlier, modern French ferler.


  • (US) IPA(key): /fɝl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(r)l


furl (third-person singular simple present furls, present participle furling, simple past and past participle furled)

  1. (transitive) To lower, roll up and secure (something, such as a sail or flag)
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, chapter 14, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299, page 71:
      With the landless gull, that at sunset folds her wings and is rocked to sleep between billows; so at nightfall, the Nantucketer, out of sight of land, furls his sails, and lays him to his rest, while under his very pillow rush herds of walruses and whales.
    • 1866, Charles Dickens, The Signal-Man[1]:
      When he heard a voice thus calling to him, he was standing at the door of his box, with a flag in his hand, furled round its short pole.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 191:
      "'Oh yes, that's all very well, but we haven't done with it yet,' said the lad, 'we shall have it worse directly,' and he ordered them to furl every rag but the mizen."
    • 1994 July 25, Jack Winter, “How I met my wife”, in The New Yorker:
      I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner.