verb (1)
\ ˈbər(-ə)l How to pronounce birl (audio) , Scotland also ˈbir(-ə)l \
birled; birling; birls

Definition of birl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

chiefly Scotland


verb (2)
birled; birling; birls

Definition of birl (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : spin
2 : to cause (a floating log) to rotate by treading

intransitive verb

: to progress by whirling

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Other Words from birl

Verb (2)

birler \ ˈbər-​lər How to pronounce birl (audio) , ˈbir-​ How to pronounce birl (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for birl

Synonyms: Verb (1)

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Examples of birl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There was sea salt in the air, and sleepless seagulls were birling in the darkness overhead. Douglas Stuart, The New Yorker, "Found Wanting," 6 Jan. 2020 Another, unable to reach dry land, dug his spiked boots into a slippery timber and birled downriver. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Lost Art of Floating Logs Down the River," 16 Feb. 2019 In some parts of the United States, birling contests are annual events. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Lost Art of Floating Logs Down the River," 16 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'birl.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of birl

Verb (1)

circa 1585, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1724, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for birl

Verb (1)

Middle English, from Old English byrelian; probably akin to Old English beran to carry — more at bear

Verb (2)

perhaps imitative

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Cite this Entry

“Birl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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