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: a low vibratory murmur typical of an apparently contented or pleased cat


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purred; purring; purrs

intransitive verb

: to make a purr or a sound like a purr
cars purring along the highway
: to speak in a manner that resembles a purr
: to speak in a malicious catty manner
purringly adverb

Examples of purr in a Sentence

Noun the soft purr of a car engine listened to the reassuring purr of the car engine Verb The cat was purring contentedly in my lap. The cars were purring along the highway. “You look tense. Let me buy you a drink,” he purred.
Recent Examples on the Web
The purrs, croaks, and grunts of fish and crustaceans that live there and the sounds of healthy coral growing can echo through the water. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 14 Mar. 2024 The duo quickly became inseparable, with footage capturing their adorable cuddles and Marble's soothing purrs as William clings to Marble's soft fur. Seth Carnell, USA TODAY, 11 Jan. 2024 Yes, the peppy little inline-five diesel purrs to life easily on the first crank. Michael Van Runkle, Robb Report, 14 Feb. 2024 But take us back to Joséphine’s drawing room, where dom-versus-dom dynamics result in a showdown that could have filled several seasons of reality TV, with Kirby’s purr often carrying the day. Joshua Rothkopf, Los Angeles Times, 21 Nov. 2023 Jones, whose vivacious voice features distinct and succulent hints of gravel, carries the power to roar like a lion or purr like a kitten. David John Chávez, The Mercury News, 25 Jan. 2024 Here, Moroney eschews any attempt to replicate Stapleton’s penchant for full-throated angst, but rather wraps her elegant voice, all purr and scratch, around the lyric, drawing out more sadness and resignation than agony. Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 8 Jan. 2024 Their cat might welcome them with loud purrs and excited floor rolls. Alisa Bowman, Discover Magazine, 22 Nov. 2023 Why cats purr remains a matter of considerable debate. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 5 Oct. 2023
The rapid-fire sotto-voce chords that launch the Scherzo went off with purring finesse; the coda of the first movement became an exuberant one-man stampede. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 25 Mar. 2024 Sweet and friendly, Fizzy will greet new people and never stop purring. The Arizona Republic, 26 Jan. 2024 Both sit amidst potted plants, with the cat purring contentedly while the girl smiles. Benj Edwards, Ars Technica, 20 Sep. 2023 Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, December 2003 THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Wrapped in ocean-blue Balenciaga couture, Alice perched on the mantel, longing to escape into the shadow world, as her black kitty purred nearby. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, 28 Feb. 2024 This well-mannered cat has a sweet disposition and regularly shows her joy by purring like a little machine. The Arizona Republic, 9 Feb. 2024 At the beginning, eruptive full-ensemble gestures give way to a gently purring harp figure and to snappy rhythms on agogô bells. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 8 Jan. 2024 Mama cats typically purr when nursing, for example, perhaps to reassure their tiny offspring, and while in labor. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 5 Oct. 2023 For one thing, both places were crawling with cats, turning a high-concept livestream from Marvel Entertainment into a chaotic scene of tumbling, jumping, eating, purring felines that just might have been extraterrestrials in disguise (a.k.a. Steve Appleford, Los Angeles Times, 20 Jan. 2024

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

Word History




First Known Use


circa 1616, in the meaning defined above


1620, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of purr was circa 1616

Dictionary Entries Near purr

Cite this Entry

“Purr.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purr. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a low murmuring sound of a contented cat
purr verb

More from Merriam-Webster on purr

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