[purn, pirn]

noun British Dialect.

a weaver's bobbin, spool, or reel.
a fishing reel.

Origin of pirn

1400–50; late Middle English pyrne < ?
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pirn

Historical Examples of pirn

  • Na, he juist said he'd forgotten a pirn, or his cruizey lamp, or ony thing.

    A Window in Thrums

    J. M. Barrie

  • The first thing he saw was a half-finished reel of cotton—a pirn, he called it.

    Robert Falconer

    George MacDonald

  • "Ay, mony a pirn has 'Lisbeth filled to me," said Hendry, settling down to a reminiscence.

    A Window in Thrums

    J. M. Barrie

  • Fathom after fathom goes reeling from your pirn, but still you are barely able to drop the far fly into the distant curl.

  • So she spun at her yarn, and found more yarn on the “pirn” than she thought to find; which frightened her.

    Witch Stories

    E. Lynn (Elizabeth Lynn) Linton

British Dictionary definitions for pirn


noun Scot

a reel or bobbin
(in weaving) the spool of a shuttle
a fishing reel

Word Origin for pirn

C15: of uncertain 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