• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to gather into a compact roll and bind securely, as a sail against a spar or a flag against its staff.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to become furled.
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  1. the act of furling.
  2. something furled, as a roll.
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  1. furl in a body, Nautical. to furl (a square sail) with loose canvas gathered at the mast, so as to make a harbor furl.
  2. furl in the bunt, Nautical. to furl (a square sail) by gathering canvas upward, so as to load the yard equally at all points.
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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. 2018

Related Words for furling

fold, curl, roll

Examples from the Web for furling

Historical Examples of furling

  • But when the ship's in port who cares to wait for the furling of the sails?

    Against Odds

    Lawrence L. Lynch

  • With the furling of the white flag they were enemies once more.

  • The men on the yard who gather in the bunt when furling sails.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • The order for men to come in from the yards after reefing or furling.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • The order to come in from the yards when reefing, furling, or other duty is performed.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

British Dictionary definitions for furling


  1. to roll up (an umbrella, a flag, etc) neatly and securely or (of an umbrella, flag, etc) to be rolled up in this way
  2. (tr) nautical to gather in (a square sail)
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  1. the act or an instance of furling
  2. a single rolled-up section
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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 furling



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper