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 forms

pearl·er, nounpearl·ish, adjectivepearl·like, adjective

Definition for pearl (2 of 4)

pearl

2
[ purl ]
/ pɜrl /

verb (used with or without object), noun

Definition for pearl (3 of 4)

Pearl

[ purl ]
/ pɜrl /

noun

a town in central Mississippi.
a female given name.

Definition for pearl (4 of 4)

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 (1 of 4)

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

British Dictionary definitions for pearl (2 of 4)

pearl

2
/ (pɜːl) /

noun, verb

British Dictionary definitions for pearl (3 of 4)

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

British Dictionary definitions for pearl (4 of 4)

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

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.