- 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.
- 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
First recorded in 1595–1605; imitative
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for purring
As he was dying,” Shafi recalls, “he made like a purring sound—like a cat.Documenting Afghanistan’s Transformation
September 27, 2013
All but purring with satisfaction and relief, Calendar halted.The Black Bag
Louis Joseph Vance
The purring and humming increased, and the car seemed to leap forward.Tom Swift and his Electric Runabout
Cats were purring on the counters of the fruit store and the tripe shop.
The fall of Clump-clump in particular kept them purring like pet cats.
The old lady had made her toilette, and her cat was purring on a cushion by her side.The Eternal City
- (intr) (esp of cats) to make a low vibrant sound, usually considered as expressing pleasure, etc
- (tr) to express (pleasure, etc) by this sound
- a purring sound
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
Word Origin and History for purring
1610s, of imitative origin. Related: Purred; purring. As a noun from c.1600.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper