• synonyms


  1. having burls that produce a distorted grain: burled lumber.
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Origin of burled

First recorded in 1920–25; burl + -ed3


  1. a small knot or lump in wool, thread, or cloth.
  2. 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.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to remove burls from (cloth) in finishing.
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Origin of burl

1400–50; late Middle English burleOld French; akin to Medieval Latin burla bunch, sheaf, Late Latin burra wool, fluff
Related formsburl·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for burled

Historical Examples

  • Every few years, as one might say, the Auld Licht kirk gave way and burled its minister.

    Auld Licht Idylls

    J. M. Barrie

  • There is nothing that has a more vulgar look than an overdone imitation of burled walnut.

    Graining and Marbling

    Frederick Maire

  • Not so with burled walnut or root walnut of either the European or the American varieties.

    Graining and Marbling

    Frederick Maire

  • I could not rest in my grave, though they burled me fathoms deep, if you ever called another—wife!

    Pretty Madcap Dorothy

    Laura Jean Libbey

British Dictionary definitions for burled


  1. a small knot or lump in wool
  2. a roundish warty outgrowth from the trunk, roots, or branches of certain trees
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  1. (tr) to remove the burls from (cloth)
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Derived Formsburler, noun

Word Origin

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



noun informal
  1. Scot, Australian and NZ an attempt; try (esp in the phrase give it a burl)
  2. Australian and NZ a ride in a car
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Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for burled



"small knot in wool or cloth," mid-15c., from Old French bourle "tuft of wool," which perhaps is related to the root of bur, or from Vulgar Latin *burrula "small flock of wool," from Late Latin burra "wool."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

burled in Science


  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.