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[furl] /fɜrl/
verb (used with object)
to gather into a compact roll and bind securely, as a sail against a spar or a flag against its staff.
verb (used without object)
to become furled.
the act of furling.
something furled, as a roll.
furl in a body, Nautical. to furl (a square sail) with loose canvas gathered at the mast, so as to make a harbor furl.
furl in the bunt, Nautical. to furl (a square sail) by gathering canvas upward, so as to load the yard equally at all points.
Origin of furl
1550-60; compare Middle French ferler in same sense, perhaps representing Old French ferlier to chain, fasten, equivalent to fer firm (< Latin firmus) + lier to bind (< Latin ligāre)
Related forms
furlable, adjective
furler, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for furled
Historical Examples
  • At these words, Barnaby furled his flag, and tied it round the pole.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • Sails were furled, others were reefed, and all was made fairly snug.

    The Last Voyage Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey
  • Her sails were furled; the slide of her scuttle hatch was closed and padlocked.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • The little yacht was in the water now, still helpless because of her furled sails.

    Glory of Youth Temple Bailey
  • The sails had been furled, but the wind and the water needed no aid.

  • The jib was not furled, but got ready to "let go" in case of fierce gusts.

    Left on Labrador

    Charles Asbury Stephens
  • The sail flapped idly against the mast, and John had it furled.

  • Night came on with the breeze freshening, and the top-gallant-sail was furled.

    Down the Rhine Oliver Optic
  • Their use is to make the sail fast to the yard when it is to be furled.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • The situation of a ship at sea when all her sails are furled.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
British Dictionary definitions for furled


to roll up (an umbrella, a flag, etc) neatly and securely or (of an umbrella, flag, etc) to be rolled up in this way
(transitive) (nautical) to gather in (a square sail)
the act or an instance of furling
a single rolled-up section
Derived Forms
furlable, adjective
furler, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Old French ferlier to bind tightly, from ferm tight (from Latin firmusfirm1) + lier to tie, bind, from Latin ligāre
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
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Word Origin and History for furled



1550s, of uncertain origin, possibly from Middle French ferler "to furl," from Old French ferliier "chain, tie up, lock away," perhaps from fer "firm" (from Latin firmus; see firm (adj.)) + -lier "to bind" (from Latin ligare). Related: Furled; furling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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