verb (used with object)

to gather into a compact roll and bind securely, as a sail against a spar or a flag against its staff.

verb (used without object)

to become furled.


the act of furling.
something furled, as a roll.


    furl in a body, Nautical. to furl (a square sail) with loose canvas gathered at the mast, so as to make a harbor furl.
    furl in the bunt, Nautical. to furl (a square sail) by gathering canvas upward, so as to load the yard equally at all points.

Origin of furl

1550–60; compare Middle French ferler in same sense, perhaps representing Old French ferlier to chain, fasten, equivalent to fer firm (< Latin firmus) + lier to bind (< Latin ligāre)
Related formsfurl·a·ble, adjectivefurl·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for furled

fold, curl, roll

Examples from the Web for furled

Historical Examples of furled

  • At these words, Barnaby furled his flag, and tied it round the pole.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • Sails were furled, others were reefed, and all was made fairly snug.

    The Last Voyage

    Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey

  • Her sails were furled; the slide of her scuttle hatch was closed and padlocked.


    Joseph Conrad

  • The little yacht was in the water now, still helpless because of her furled sails.

    Glory of Youth

    Temple Bailey

  • The sails had been furled, but the wind and the water needed no aid.

British Dictionary definitions for furled



to roll up (an umbrella, a flag, etc) neatly and securely or (of an umbrella, flag, etc) to be rolled up in this way
(tr) nautical to gather in (a square sail)


the act or an instance of furling
a single rolled-up section
Derived Formsfurlable, adjectivefurler, noun

Word Origin for furl

C16: from Old French ferlier to bind tightly, from ferm tight (from Latin firmus firm 1) + lier to tie, bind, from Latin ligāre
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 furled



1550s, of uncertain origin, possibly from Middle French ferler "to furl," from Old French ferliier "chain, tie up, lock away," perhaps from fer "firm" (from Latin firmus; see firm (adj.)) + -lier "to bind" (from Latin ligare). Related: Furled; furling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper