• synonyms


[fer-uh l, -ool]
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  1. Also ferula. a rod, cane, or flat piece of wood for punishing children, especially by striking them on the hand.
verb (used with object), fer·uled, fer·ul·ing.
  1. to punish with a ferule.

Origin of ferule1

1375–1425; late Middle English ferula, ferul(e) giant fennel < Latin ferula schoolmaster's rod (literally, stalk of giant fennel); replacing Old English ferele < Latin


[fer-uh l, -ool]
noun, verb (used with object), fer·uled, fer·ul·ing.
  1. ferrule.


or fer·ule

[fer-uh l, -ool]
  1. a ring or cap, usually of metal, put around the end of a post, cane, or the like, to prevent splitting.
  2. a short metal sleeve for strengthening a tool handle at the end holding the tool.
  3. a bushing or adapter holding the end of a tube and inserted into a hole in a plate in order to make a tight fit, used in boilers, condensers, etc.
  4. a short ring for reinforcing or decreasing the interior diameter of the end of a tube.
  5. a short plumbing fitting, covered at its outer end and caulked or otherwise fixed to a branch from a pipe so that it can be removed to give access to the interior of the pipe.
  6. Angling.
    1. either of two fittings on the end of a section of a sectional fishing rod, one fitting serving as a plug and the other as a socket for fastening the sections together.
    2. one of two or more small rings spaced along the top of a casting rod to hold and guide the line.
verb (used with object), fer·ruled, fer·rul·ing.
  1. to furnish with a ferrule.

Origin of ferrule

1605–15; alteration (apparently conformed to Latin ferrum iron, -ule) of verrel, verril, late Middle English virole < Middle French (cognate with Medieval Latin virola) < Latin viriola, equivalent to viri(a) bracelet + -ola -ole1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ferule

Historical Examples

  • "I'd like to ferule yours," he gritted between his set teeth.

    From the Car Behind

    Eleanor M. Ingram

  • No; it was the thought of the master, that dreadful man with the ferule and the birch sticks.

  • If he should curve his elbow in the least, it would get a rap from the master's ferule.

  • The man with the umbrella drew with the ferule of it a line on the ground.

    The Monster

    Edgar Saltus

  • “Suffragettes,” gasped Uncle Jim with the ferule at his throat.

British Dictionary definitions for ferule


  1. a flat piece of wood, such as a ruler, used in some schools to cane children on the hand
  1. (tr) rare to punish with a ferule

Word Origin

C16: from Latin ferula giant fennel, whip, rod; the stalk of the plant was used for punishment


  1. a variant spelling of ferrule



  1. a metal ring, tube, or cap placed over the end of a stick, handle, or post for added strength or stability or to increase wear
  2. a side opening in a pipe that gives access for inspection or cleaning
  3. a bush, gland, small length of tube, etc, esp one used for making a joint
  1. (tr) to equip (a stick, etc) with a ferrule

Word Origin

C17: from Middle English virole, from Old French virol, from Latin viriola a little bracelet, from viria bracelet; influenced by Latin ferrum iron
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ferule


"rod for punishing children," 1590s, earlier "giant fennel" (early 15c.), from Middle English ferula "fennel plant" (late 14c.), from Latin ferula "reed, whip, rod, ferule, staff; fennel plant or rod," probably related to festuca "stalk, straw, rod."



"metal cap on a rod," 1610s, ferule, earlier verrel (early 15c.), from Old French virelle, from Latin viriola "bracelet," diminutive of viriae "bracelets," from a Gaulish word (cf. Old Irish fiar "bent, crooked"); spelling influenced by Latin ferrum "iron."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper