Nearby words

  1. pear haw,
  2. pear psylla,
  3. pear thrips,
  4. pear, prickly,
  5. pear-shaped,
  6. pearl ash,
  7. pearl barley,
  8. pearl blue,
  9. pearl city,
  10. pearl danio

Idioms

    cast pearls before swine, to offer or give something of great value to those incapable of appreciating it: She read them Shakespeare but it was casting pearls before swine.

Origin of pearl

1
1300–50; Middle English perle < Middle French < Italian or assumed Vulgar Latin *perla (> German Perle, Old English pærl), for Latin *pernula (> Portuguese perola, perhaps Old Saxon përula), diminutive of Latin perna sea mussel

Related formspearl·er, nounpearl·ish, adjectivepearl·like, adjective

pearl

2
[ purl ]
/ pɜrl /

verb (used with or without object), noun

Pearl

[ purl ]
/ pɜrl /

noun

a town in central Mississippi.
a female given name.

purl

1

or pearl

[ purl ]
/ pɜrl /

verb (used with or without object)

to knit with a reverse stitch.
to finish with loops or a looped edging.

noun

a basic stitch in knitting, the reverse of the knit, formed by pulling a loop of the working yarn back through an existing stitch and then slipping that stitch off the needle.Compare knit(def 11).
one of a series of small loops along the edge of lace braid.
thread made of twisted gold or silver wire.

Origin of purl

1
First recorded in 1520–30; variant of obsolete or dial. pirl to twist (threads, etc.) into a cord

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pearl


British Dictionary definitions for pearl

pearl

1
/ (pɜːl) /

noun

adjective

of, made of, or set with pearl or mother-of-pearl
having the shape or colour of a pearl

verb

Word Origin for pearl

C14: from Old French, from Vulgar Latin pernula (unattested), from Latin perna sea mussel

noun, verb

purl

1
/ (pɜːl) /

noun

Also called: purl stitch a knitting stitch made by doing a plain stitch backwards
a decorative border, as of lace
gold or silver wire thread

verb

to knit (a row or garment) in purl stitch
to edge (something) with a purl
Also (for senses 2, 3, 5): pearl

Word Origin for purl

C16: from dialect pirl to twist into a cord

purl

2
/ (pɜːl) /

verb

(intr) (of a stream, etc) to flow with a gentle curling or rippling movement and a murmuring sound

noun

a curling movement of water; eddy
a murmuring sound, as of a shallow stream

Word Origin for purl

C16: related to Norwegian purla to bubble

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 pearl
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for pearl

pearl

[ pûrl ]

n.

A small sphere of thin glass containing amyl nitrite or other volatile fluid, designed to be crushed, as in a handkerchief, so that its contents can be inhaled.
Any of a number of small tough masses of mucus occurring in the sputum in asthma.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for pearl

pearl

[ pûrl ]

A smooth, slightly iridescent, white or grayish rounded growth inside the shells of some mollusks. Pearls form as a reaction to the presence of a foreign particle, and consist of thin layers of mother-of-pearl that are deposited around the particle. The pearls of oysters are often valued as gems.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.