noun (1)
\ˈpər(-ə)l \

Definition of purl 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1 : gold or silver thread or wire for embroidering or edging

2 : the intertwisting of thread that knots a stitch usually along an edge


verb (1)
purled; purling; purls

Definition of purl (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to embroider with gold or silver thread

b : to edge or border with gold or silver embroidery

2 : to knit in purl stitch

intransitive verb

: to do knitting in purl stitch


noun (2)

Definition of purl (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : a purling or swirling stream or rill

2 : a gentle murmur or movement (as of purling water)


verb (2)
purled; purling; purls

Definition of purl (Entry 4 of 4)

intransitive verb

1 : eddy, swirl

2 : to make a soft murmuring sound like that of a purling stream

First Known Use of purl

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

1518, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (2)

circa 1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

circa 1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for purl

Noun (1)

Middle English

Noun (2)

perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian purla to ripple

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Time Traveler for purl

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on purl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with purl

Spanish Central: Translation of purl

Nglish: Translation of purl for Spanish Speakers

Comments on purl

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


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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