adjective, pearl·i·er, pearl·i·est.

like a pearl, especially in being white or lustrous; nacreous: her pearly teeth.
adorned with or abounding in pearls or mother-of-pearl.

Origin of pearly

First recorded in 1400–50, pearly is from the late Middle English word peerly. See pearl1, -y1
Related formspearl·i·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pearly

Contemporary Examples of pearly

Historical Examples of pearly

  • Once more may our eyes be gladdened with the pearly, orient dew!


    William Godwin

  • He gaped at her vague, pearly face, as if she had suggested some enormity.


    Stephen French Whitman

  • Realism, as they call it, can never catch the boundaries of her pearly beauty.


    Christopher Morley

  • Chestnut Street was gray with a dull, pearly, opaque twilight.


    Christopher Morley

  • The loveliest idea came and sat on my chest in the pearly dawn!

    Jane Journeys On

    Ruth Comfort Mitchell

British Dictionary definitions for pearly


adjective pearlier or pearliest

resembling a pearl, esp in lustre
of the colour pearl; pale bluish-grey
decorated with pearls or mother-of-pearl

noun plural pearlies (in Britain)

a London costermonger who wears on ceremonial occasions a traditional dress of dark clothes covered with pearl buttons
(plural) the clothes or the buttons themselves
Derived Formspearliness, noun
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 pearly

early 15c., from pearl + -y (2). Related: Pearliness. The pearly gates of Heaven (or the New Jerusalem) are attested by 1708, from Rev. 21:21.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper