pearl


1pearl

noun \ˈpər(-ə)l\

Definition of PEARL

1
a :  a dense variously colored and usually lustrous concretion formed of concentric layers of nacre as an abnormal growth within the shell of some mollusks and used as a gem
b :  mother-of-pearl
2
:  one that is very choice or precious
3
:  something resembling a pearl intrinsically or physically
4
:  a nearly neutral slightly bluish medium gray

Examples of PEARL

  1. She wore a string of pearls.
  2. Pearls of dew glistened on the grass.

Origin of PEARL

Middle English perle, from Anglo-French, probably from Vulgar Latin *pernula, diminutive of Latin perna upper leg, kind of sea mussel; akin to Old English fiersn heel, Greek pternē
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Jewelry Terms

bijou, brilliant, chase, facet, lapidary, paste

2pearl

verb

Definition of PEARL

transitive verb
1
:  to set or adorn with pearls
2
:  to sprinkle or bead with pearly drops
3
:  to form into small round grains
4
:  to give a pearly color or luster to
intransitive verb
1
:  to form drops or beads like pearls
2
:  to fish or search for pearls
pearl·er \ˈpər-lər\ noun

First Known Use of PEARL

14th century

3pearl

adjective

Definition of PEARL

1
a :  of, relating to, or resembling pearl
b :  made of or adorned with pearls
2
:  having medium-sized grains <pearl barley>

First Known Use of PEARL

1610

Other Jewelry Terms

bijou, brilliant, chase, facet, lapidary, paste

4pearl

noun or transitive verb

Definition of PEARL

British
:  picot

Origin of PEARL

alteration of purl
First Known Use: 1824

Pearl

geographical name \ˈpər(-ə)l\

Definition of PEARL

1
river ab 410 miles (660 kilometers) S Mississippi flowing S into Gulf of Mexico
2
— see zhu

pearl

noun \ˈpərl\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of PEARL

1
2
: one of the rounded concentric masses of squamous epithelial cells characteristic of certain tumors
3
: a miliary leproma of the iris
4
: a rounded abnormal mass of enamel on a tooth

pearl

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Blister pearl attached to the shell of an Oriental pearl oyster (Pinctada martensii Dunker)—Courtesy of The American Museum of Natural History, New York

Concretion formed by a mollusk and consisting of the same material (called nacre, or mother-of-pearl) as the mollusk's shell. Long treasured as gemstones, pearls are valued for their translucence and lustre and for the delicate play of surface colour. The more perfect a pearl's shape and the deeper its lustre, the greater its value. The colour varies with the mollusk and its environment. Jewelers of the 16th–17th centuries often used irregularly shaped (baroque) pearls, formed from muscular tissue, to form the bodies of animals and other figures. In Europe and China, mother-of-pearl has been used as an inlay material for decorating furniture. The discovery that a pearl could be cultivated by insertion of a foreign object inside the mollusk's shell is said to have been made in 13th-century China.

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: pearl ash
Previous Word in the Dictionary: pea rifle
All Words Near: pearl

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up pearl? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).