fer·​rule ˈfer-əl How to pronounce ferrule (audio)
: a ring or cap usually of metal put around a slender shaft (such as a cane or a tool handle) to strengthen it or prevent splitting
: a usually metal sleeve used especially for joining or binding one part to another (such as pipe sections or the bristles and handle of a brush)
ˈfer-əld How to pronounce ferrule (audio)

Did you know?

Ferrule is a word for a simple metal band or cap of great versatility. The ferrule is ubiquitous. It is the cap at the end of a cane or crutch, a chair or table leg; it is the point or knob at the hub of an umbrella; it fits together tubes and pipes and binds paintbrush handles to bristles and pencils to erasers. In Middle English this universal thingamajig was called a verrel. That word commonly referred to the strengthening bands or rings of iron used to prevent the splitting or wear of the wooden shafts of implements. The name evolved from Middle French virelle and Old French virol and ultimately from Latin viriola, meaning "small bracelet." The "f" spelling of today's ferrule was influenced by ferrum, the Latin word for "iron."

Examples of ferrule in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Next is the din of ratcheting as aluminum ferrules and erasers are punched onto ends. Danny Freedman, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 June 2023 The steel ferrule won’t rust or corrode and the sealed maple handle is a cinch to keep clean. Alex Rennie, Popular Mechanics, 3 Mar. 2023 Caspi also fitted two tomato cans to the wood for the pencil’s ferrule — who knew that’s the name for the metal band — and colored in the sharpened tip with pencil graphite. Alison Cross, Hartford Courant, 20 July 2022 Deploy long, gentle strokes, like brushing your hair, so as not tug too many bristles loose from the ferrule. Dan Diclerico, Good Housekeeping, 16 Nov. 2022 That will work the water into the heel of the brush, all the way to the ferrule, where the bristles connect to the handle. Dan Diclerico, Good Housekeeping, 16 Nov. 2022 Also, avoid drying brushes vertically with the bristles up — this can cause water to leak into the ferrule (the piece that joins the bristles to the handle), which also will loosen the glue and lead to bristle loss. Kate Sullivan, Kristi Kellogg, Allure, 14 Feb. 2022 Hanging your brushes upside down prevents water from getting into the ferrule and handle, a problem that can eventually cause both to break. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 23 Nov. 2021 The carefully bent side tines flare slightly below the ferrule creating a beautiful, fleur de lis image. Heather Arndt Anderson, Sunset Magazine, 2 Mar. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ferrule.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


alteration of Middle English virole, from Anglo-French, from Latin viriola, diminutive of viria bracelet, of Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish fiar oblique

First Known Use

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ferrule was in 1611


Dictionary Entries Near ferrule

Cite this Entry

“Ferrule.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ferrule. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


fer·​rule ˈfer-əl How to pronounce ferrule (audio)
: a metal ring or cap placed around the end of a wooden shaft or handle to prevent splitting or to provide a strong joint
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