noun (1)
\ ˈpər(-ə)l How to pronounce pearl (audio) \

Definition of pearl

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : a dense variously colored and usually lustrous concretion formed of concentric layers of mother-of-pearl as an abnormal growth within the shell of some mollusks and used as a gem
2 : one that is very choice or precious
3 : something resembling a pearl intrinsically or physically
4 : a nearly neutral slightly bluish medium gray


pearled; pearling; pearls

Definition of pearl (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to set or adorn with pearls
2 : to sprinkle or bead with pearly drops
3 : to form into small round grains
4 : to give a pearly color or luster to

intransitive verb

1 : to form drops or beads like pearls
2 : to fish or search for pearls



Definition of pearl (Entry 3 of 4)

1a : of, relating to, or resembling pearl
b : made of or adorned with pearls
2 : having medium-sized grains pearl barley


noun (2)

Definition of pearl (Entry 4 of 4)

: picot

Other Words from pearl


pearler \ ˈpər-​lər How to pronounce pearl (audio) \ noun

Examples of pearl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The tiara boasts 19 diamond arches, with pearls dangling from each embellished curve. Michelle Darrisaw, Southern Living, 14 July 2017 The diamond and pearl Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara, as Vanity Fair notes, was a wedding gift to Princess Diana and known to be one of Diana's favorite pieces. Melissa Minton, Glamour, 13 July 2017 They're then topped with purple icing, covered in sprinkles with purple and white edible pearls, and topped off with a fondant mermaid tale. Danielle Tullo, Cosmopolitan, 21 June 2017 Usually, the hot season is met with a certain amount of pearl-clutching disbelief by people outside of Arizona. Amy B Wang, Washington Post, 20 June 2017 Quick-cooking pearl barley is a flake that has been partially cooked and dried for quick cooking, similar to instant oatmeal. Jill Wendholt Silva,, 5 July 2017 Sneakers made by Eytys, sunglasses by Carerra, and lots of jewelry in 18k gold and sterling silver with mother of pearl crosses. Noah Johnson, GQ, 24 June 2017 The Duchess of Cambridge stepped to the Royal Ascot today elegantly donning a white lace dress by Alexander McQueen, paired with a matching fascinator and pearl drop earrings. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, 20 June 2017 The clock, plated in mother of pearl, 18K white gold and crystal, also is diamond- and sapphire-encrusted and is referred to on the dealer’s website as the Asprey & Co. Mystery Clock. Katherine Rosenberg-douglas,, 20 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Even grains like sorghum and farro may not necessarily be whole since they are frequently pearled. Sophie Egan, New York Times, 16 Mar. 2020 Instagram: @juliaclancy Email: Fresh-Herb Matzo Ball Soup Serves 4 to 6 Changing water into fat-pearled, herb-laced, deeply fragrant broth was one of the first acts of magic taught to me in cooking. Julia Clancy,, 5 Feb. 2020 Then, as the woman convicted of murder reached out her arms, the judge, still in her black robe and pearled necklace, wrapped her in an embrace. Sarah Mervosh, New York Times, 4 Oct. 2019 Barley is sold in a variety of forms: Hulled, hull-less, pearl (pearled), and quick-cooking. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, 30 June 2019 Whole grain: Choose from quinoa, emmer farro, einkorn, spelt, whole-grain sorghum (as opposed to pearled), whole-grain barley (again, not pearled), bulgur wheat, freekeh, Kamut wheat, brown rice, black rice, red rice and wild rice. Carrie Dennett, The Seattle Times, 28 Nov. 2018 This twist on risotto uses pearled barley instead of Arborio rice for a healthier dish. Country Living, 20 July 2012 But each version retains its handcrafted hallmarks: supple leather; saddle stitching; and hardware that’s undergone pearling, a technique that polishes and smooths it to glossy perfection. Kimberly Chrisman-campbell, WSJ, 31 Aug. 2017 The hour markers were pearled, and milled into the champagne dial to pick up its brass hue. Gary Shteyngart, The New Yorker, 20 Mar. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This edition features a pearl-white lacquer barrel and a cone embellished with a traditional Victorian pattern. Nancy Olson, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 The ultra concentrated formula with a 10 micro-pearl applicator energizes, illuminates and lifts the eye contour. Cécilia Pelloux, Forbes, 4 Nov. 2021 The pearl-white hull has been engineered to minimize drag and maximize efficiency. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 26 Feb. 2021 That would officially make this our 12th anniversary, traditionally pearl, but Brian never cast pearls before wine. Kevin Fisher-paulson,, 22 Sep. 2020 Metallic and pearl paint colors will cost $400 extra. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, 19 May 2020 Annie, Brenda, Elise, and Cynthia (Stockard Channing) are graduating from college, and exchange promises (and pearl necklaces) to be friends forever. Anne Cohen,, 2 Apr. 2020 On land there were hikes to waterfalls and visits to pearl farms and villages. Stephanie Wu, Condé Nast Traveler, 27 Mar. 2020 Mejuri’s inventory is filled with 14K gold rings, dainty diamond stud earrings, and even pearl goods that would make Harry Styles do a double-take at its fair prices. Bianca Nieves, Teen Vogue, 12 Mar. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of pearl

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

1542, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pearl

Noun (1)

Middle English perle, from Anglo-French, probably from Vulgar Latin *pernula, diminutive of Latin perna upper leg, kind of sea mussel; akin to Old English fiersn heel, Greek pternē

Noun (2)

alteration of purl

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Time Traveler for pearl

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near pearl

pea rifle



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Cite this Entry

“Pearl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for pearl


\ ˈpərl How to pronounce pearl (audio) \

Kids Definition of pearl

1 : a smooth rounded shiny usually white body that is formed within the shell of some mollusks (as oysters) usually around an irritating particle which has gotten into the shell
3 : something like a pearl in shape, color, or value


\ ˈpərl How to pronounce pearl (audio) \

Medical Definition of pearl

1 : perle
2 : one of the rounded concentric masses of squamous epithelial cells characteristic of certain tumors
3 : a miliary leproma of the iris
4 : a rounded abnormal mass of enamel on a tooth

Pearl geographical name

\ ˈpər(-ə)l How to pronounce Pearl (audio) \

Definition of Pearl

1 river about 410 miles (660 kilometers) long in southern Mississippi flowing south into the Gulf of Mexico
2 — see zhu


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