pur·​fle | \ ˈpər-fəl How to pronounce purfle (audio) \
purfled; purfling\ ˈpər-​f(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce purfle (audio) \

Definition of purfle

transitive verb

: to ornament the border or edges of

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Other Words from purfle

purfle noun

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Today we use "purfle" mostly in reference to setting a decorative inlaid border around the body of a guitar or violin, a process known as "purfling." In the past, "purfle" got the most use in connection with adornment of garments. "The Bishop of Ely . . . wore a robe of scarlet . . . purfled with minever," reported an English clergyman in 1840, for example. We embellished our language with "purfle," first as "purfilen" in the 1300s, when we took it with its meaning from Middle French porfiler.

First Known Use of purfle

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for purfle

Middle English purfilen, from purfil embroidered border, from Anglo-French, from pur for, in place of (from Latin pro-) + fil thread, yarn — more at pro-, file

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The first known use of purfle was in the 14th century

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purfled work

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Cite this Entry

“Purfle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purfle. Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

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