purfle

verb

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

transitive verb

: to ornament the border or edges of
purfle noun

Did you know?

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

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Dictionary Entries Near purfle

Cite this Entry

“Purfle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purfle. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

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