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[pur-lee] /ˈpɜr li/
adjective, pearlier, pearliest.
like a pearl, especially in being white or lustrous; nacreous:
her pearly teeth.
adorned with or abounding in pearls or mother-of-pearl.
Origin of pearly
late Middle English
First recorded in 1400-50, pearly is from the late Middle English word peerly. See pearl1, -y1
Related forms
pearliness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pearly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Once more may our eyes be gladdened with the pearly, orient dew!

    Imogen William Godwin
  • He gaped at her vague, pearly face, as if she had suggested some enormity.


    Stephen French Whitman
  • Realism, as they call it, can never catch the boundaries of her pearly beauty.


    Christopher Morley
  • Chestnut Street was gray with a dull, pearly, opaque twilight.


    Christopher Morley
  • The loveliest idea came and sat on my chest in the pearly dawn!

    Jane Journeys On Ruth Comfort Mitchell
  • It is the pearly gate that opens to the real paradise of fools.

    Gov. Bob. Taylor's Tales Robert L. Taylor
British Dictionary definitions for pearly


adjective pearlier, pearliest
resembling a pearl, esp in lustre
of the colour pearl; pale bluish-grey
decorated with pearls or mother-of-pearl
noun (in Britain) (pl) pearlies
a London costermonger who wears on ceremonial occasions a traditional dress of dark clothes covered with pearl buttons
(pl) the clothes or the buttons themselves
Derived Forms
pearliness, noun
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 pearly

early 15c., from pearl + -y (2). Related: Pearliness. The pearly gates of Heaven (or the New Jerusalem) are attested by 1708, from Rev. 21:21.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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