a barb of a feather, used especially in dressing anglers' flies.
an artificial fly dressed with a herl.

Origin of herl

1300–50; Middle English; cognate with Middle Low German herle, harle, Low German harl fibre, hair of flax or hemp
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for herl

Historical Examples of herl

  • The tumult for herl Constant touch with the active, the gay!

  • Wind silk floss (E) over the herl about half way up the hook.

    How to Tie Flies

    E. C. Gregg

  • Finish body with herl (D) wound tight against the back of the wings.

    How to Tie Flies

    E. C. Gregg

  • Twitchbell—inside of lightest part of Starling's quill feather for wings, brown hackle for legs, brown Peacock's herl for body.

British Dictionary definitions for herl



noun angling

the barb or barbs of a feather, used to dress fishing flies
an artificial fly dressed with such barbs

Word Origin for herl

C15: from Middle Low German herle, of obscure origin
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