Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: pērn


Etymology 1[edit]

Presumably from a verb pern, a variant of preen, from Middle English prene; pernyng is read by some editors in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (v. 611) and interpreted as the present participle of this verb, also reflected dialectally as pirn (reel; bobbin).[1] See also pirl.


pern (plural perns)

  1. part of a spinning wheel, a conical spool onto which the thread is wound from the spindle
    • 1813 February 4, "Specification of the Patent granted to William Broughton [] for a Method of making a peculiar Species of Canvas", in The Repertory of Arts, Manufactures, and Agriculture, page 72:
      [] these yarns are to be wove in the usual way of weaving canvas, but the weft to come off the pern or quill double []
    • 1851, Official catalogue of the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851, page 38:
      Model of a patent machine for winding yarn from the hank, upon the shuttlecope or pern.
    • 1894, The New Technical Educator: An Encyclopaedia of Technical Education, volume 3, page 234:
      In one division the spindles carry the bobbins revolving inside a kind of cup or cone fitting down upon the pern, and the latter is shaped to fit accurately this conical surface.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

19th century, after the taxonomical name Pernis (Cuvier 1816).


pern (plural perns)

  1. A honey buzzard; Pernis apivorus.

Etymology 3[edit]

See pernancy.


pern (third-person singular simple present perns, present participle perning, simple past and past participle perned)

  1. To take profit of; to make profitable.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sylvester to this entry?)


  1. ^ Charles Moorman, The Works of the Gawain-Poet (1977), →ISBN, page 324.

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 The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for pern in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)