Try Our Apps


World Series Quiz


or pur

[pur] /pɜr/
verb (used without object)
to utter a low, continuous, murmuring sound expressive of contentment or pleasure, as a cat does.
(of things) to make a sound suggestive of the purring of a cat:
The new motor of the car purred.
verb (used with object)
to express by or as if by purring.
the low, vibrating sound made by a cat by the contracting of the laryngeal muscles and the diaphragm as it breathes.
a sound resembling this.
the act of purring.
Origin of purr
1595-1605; imitative
Related forms
purringly, adverb
Can be confused
per, purr (see usage note at per) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for purr
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The newspapers pounced on them with joy, as cats pounce and purr on catnip.

    In a Little Town Rupert Hughes
  • I came to the side of the punt and stroked her and she began to purr at once.

  • All purr and softness when she's a friend—and a perfect she-devil when an enemy.

  • If you can make him wash and purr in a new place, he will stay.

    A Little Girl of Long Ago Amanda Millie Douglas
  • You are soft and lax, you purr when I stroke you; I could make a pet of you.

    Rest Harrow Maurice Hewlett
  • There was no sound but the purr of machinery and the mewing of gulls in the distance.

    Mistress Anne Temple Bailey
  • He was an enormous cat, and his purr was as oversized as his body.

    The Boarded-Up House Augusta Huiell Seaman
British Dictionary definitions for purr


(intransitive) (esp of cats) to make a low vibrant sound, usually considered as expressing pleasure, etc
(transitive) to express (pleasure, etc) by this sound
a purring sound
Word Origin
C17: of imitative origin; compare French ronronner to purr, German schnurren, Dutch snorren
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for purr

1610s, of imitative origin. Related: Purred; purring. As a noun from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for purr

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for purr

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for purr