1 of 2


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


2 of 2


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
On her first two records, the Quebecois folk singer wrapped her low, steely purr around diverse material—from the sardonic light verse of raconteur Dorothy Parker to her own lyrics about the birth of her daughter. Reed Jackson, SPIN, 16 May 2024 Read Next: Turkey Calling Tips Cluck and Purr The cluck and purr create a combination call. Josh Honeycutt, Outdoor Life, 2 May 2024 Read Next: How to Use a Turkey Mouth Call Purr The purr is a series of quiet notes made by hens (similar to the purring a cat makes). Josh Honeycutt, Outdoor Life, 2 May 2024 By then, though, the Biennale will be back, and Venice will fill with new rumbling, the lingua franca of the contemporary art world: part purr, part groan, part long, uncertain hmmm. Jackson Arn, The New Yorker, 2 May 2024 The man is an Oscar-winner, he’s played everybody from Hamlet to Hannibal Lecter, he’s got the best butter-melting British purr in the business. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 20 Apr. 2024 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
Read Next: How to Use a Turkey Mouth Call Purr The purr is a series of quiet notes made by hens (similar to the purring a cat makes). Josh Honeycutt, Outdoor Life, 2 May 2024 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

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 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a low murmuring sound of a contented cat
purr verb

More from Merriam-Webster on purr

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!