[ burl ]
/ bɜrl /
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a small knot or lump in wool, thread, or cloth.
a dome-shaped growth on the trunk of a tree; a wartlike structure sometimes 2 feet (0.6 meters) across and 1 foot (0.3 meters) or more in height, sliced to make veneer.

verb (used with object)

to remove burls from (cloth) in finishing.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of burl

1400–50; late Middle English burle ≪ Old French; akin to Medieval Latin burla bunch, sheaf, Late Latin burra wool, fluff


burler, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for burl

British Dictionary definitions for burl (1 of 2)

/ (bɜːl) /


a small knot or lump in wool
a roundish warty outgrowth from the trunk, roots, or branches of certain trees


(tr) to remove the burls from (cloth)

Derived forms of burl

burler, noun

Word Origin for burl

C15: from Old French burle tuft of wool, probably ultimately from Late Latin burra shaggy cloth

British Dictionary definitions for burl (2 of 2)



/ (bɜːl) /

noun informal

Scot, Australian and NZ an attempt; try (esp in the phrase give it a burl)
Australian and NZ a ride in a car

Word Origin for burl

C20: perhaps from birl 1 in the Scot sense: a twist or turn
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

Scientific definitions for burl

[ bûrl ]

A large, rounded outgrowth on the trunk or branch of a tree. Burls develop from one or more twig buds whose cells continue to multiply but never differentiate so that the twig can elongate into a limb. Burls do not usually cause harm to trees.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.