\ ˈpər How to pronounce purr (audio) \

Definition of purr

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


purred; purring; purrs

Definition of purr (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to make a purr or a sound like a purr cars purring along the highway
2a : to speak in a manner that resembles a purr
b : to speak in a malicious catty manner

Other Words from purr


purringly \ ˈpər-​iŋ-​lē How to pronounce purr (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for purr

Synonyms: Noun

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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: Noun Merlin set the record for the loudest purr by a domestic cat on April 2, 2015, purring at 67.8 db(A), as loud as a high-revving motorcycle, according to Guinness. Saleen Martin, USA TODAY, 8 Aug. 2022 Chirrup: sounds like a mix between a meow and a purr and is a greeting often used by a mother cat to call her kittens. Clare Mulroy, USA TODAY, 23 July 2022 In the clip, Rozi slowly walks toward the camera before stumbling and giving a soft purr. Vanessa Etienne, PEOPLE.com, 6 June 2022 No cranking, no revving, just the subtle purr of electromagnetic power. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 27 June 2022 There wasn't much of even a purr of the motor to be heard in our testing, and the leg stability means your items won't shift while in motion. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, 14 Apr. 2022 No one talks like him — all those offbeat cadences, delivered in a purr. David Marchesephoto Illustration By Bráulio Amado, New York Times, 4 Feb. 2022 Mangini layered a cat purr over the ornithopter, with tent straps and beetle wings flapping in the wind. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 13 Mar. 2022 Her voice has only become richer and more nuanced over the years, her range spanning a low purr all the way up to a floating falsetto, her ability to effortlessly bend a lyric to her will as supple as ever. Rebecca Milzoff, Billboard, 25 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But alas: Although cats can purr at frequencies that overlap with those used in vibration therapy, none of the research on these treatments has actually involved felines. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 7 Sep. 2022 As smaller cats, clouded leopards don’t purr or roar. Dallas News, 12 Sep. 2021 Foreign investors and other business folk, Mr Xie purred, had no reason to panic. The Economist, 28 May 2020 Purr long, purr short, and kind of work them together. Matthew Every, Outdoor Life, 1 May 2020 More than 500 cars, trucks and other things that go vroom (or purr, in the case of the electric cars) will be on display, including Ford's new all-electric Mustang Mach-E, along with classic cars, special events and stuff for kids to do. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 19 Feb. 2020 No matter what the weather is, the last weekend of this month promises to be purr-fect. John Delapp, Houston Chronicle, 3 Jan. 2020 The gathering storm: In one of the world’s most unequal societies, a fashion designer's sewing machine purrs. Babak Tafreshi, National Geographic, 14 Apr. 2020 The universe has cooked up all sorts of bizarre and beautiful forms of matter, from blazing stars to purring cats, out of just three basic ingredients. Quanta Magazine, 30 Mar. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'purr.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of purr


circa 1616, in the meaning defined above


1620, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for purr



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Last Updated

12 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Purr.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purr. Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for purr


\ ˈpər How to pronounce purr (audio) \
purred; purring

Kids Definition of purr

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make the low murmuring sound of a contented cat or a similar sound



Kids Definition of purr (Entry 2 of 2)

: the low murmuring sound of a contented cat or a similar sound the purr of the engine

More from Merriam-Webster on purr

Nglish: Translation of purr for Spanish Speakers


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