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[purn, pirn] /pɜrn, pɪrn/
noun, British Dialect.
a weaver's bobbin, spool, or reel.
a fishing reel.
Origin of pirn
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English pyrne < ? Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pirn
Historical Examples
  • Na, he juist said he'd forgotten a pirn, or his cruizey lamp, or ony thing.

    A Window in Thrums

    J. M. Barrie
  • The first thing he saw was a half-finished reel of cotton—a pirn, he called it.

    Robert Falconer George MacDonald
  • "Ay, mony a pirn has 'Lisbeth filled to me," said Hendry, settling down to a reminiscence.

    A Window in Thrums

    J. M. Barrie
  • Fathom after fathom goes reeling from your pirn, but still you are barely able to drop the far fly into the distant curl.

  • So she spun at her yarn, and found more yarn on the “pirn” than she thought to find; which frightened her.

    Witch Stories

    E. Lynn (Elizabeth Lynn) Linton
British Dictionary definitions for pirn


/pɜːn; Scottish pɪrn/
noun (Scot)
a reel or bobbin
(in weaving) the spool of a shuttle
a fishing reel
Word Origin
C15: of uncertain origin
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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