• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. Chiefly Northern U.S. Lumbering. to cause (a floating log) to rotate rapidly by treading upon it.
  2. British. to spin or cause to rotate.
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verb (used without object)
  1. Chiefly Northern U.S. Lumbering. to cause a floating log to rotate rapidly by treading on it.
  2. British.
    1. to move or rotate rapidly.
    2. Informal.to spend money freely.
    3. Informal.to gamble.
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  1. British Informal. an attempt; a gamble.
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Origin of birl

1715–25; perhaps blend of birr1 and whirl, influenced, in some senses, by birle
Related formsbirl·er, noun


[burl; Scot. birl]Chiefly Scot.
verb (used with object), birled, birl·ing.
  1. to pour (a drink) or pour a drink for.
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verb (used without object), birled, birl·ing.
  1. to drink deeply; carouse.
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Origin of birle

before 1000; Middle English birlen, Old English byrelian, derivative of byrele butler; akin to bear1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for birled

Historical Examples

  • The boy waved his hat and birled the log until the spray flew.

    The Rules of the Game

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for birled


  1. Scot to spin; twirl
  2. US and Canadian to cause (a floating log) to spin using the feet while standing on it, esp as a sport among lumberjacks
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  1. a variant spelling of burl 2
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Derived Formsbirling, noun

Word Origin

C18: probably imitative and influenced by whirl and hurl


  1. archaic, Scot to ply (one's guests, etc) with drink
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Word Origin

Old English byrelian; related to byrele cup-bearer
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