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See more synonyms for pur on Thesaurus.com
noun, verb (used with or without object), purred, pur·ring.
  1. purr.
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or pur

verb (used without object)
  1. to utter a low, continuous, murmuring sound expressive of contentment or pleasure, as a cat does.
  2. (of things) to make a sound suggestive of the purring of a cat: The new motor of the car purred.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to express by or as if by purring.
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  1. the low, vibrating sound made by a cat by the contracting of the laryngeal muscles and the diaphragm as it breathes.
  2. a sound resembling this.
  3. the act of purring.
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Origin of purr

First recorded in 1595–1605; imitative
Related formspurr·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confusedper purr (see usage note at per)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for purring

moan, growl, purr, babble, whisper, stammer, burble, mutter, hum, utter, mumble, gurgle, serenade, chant, warble, whistle, shout, croon, wait, intone

Examples from the Web for purring

Contemporary Examples of purring

Historical Examples of purring

  • All but purring with satisfaction and relief, Calendar halted.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • The purring and humming increased, and the car seemed to leap forward.

  • Cats were purring on the counters of the fruit store and the tripe shop.


    Emile Zola

  • The fall of Clump-clump in particular kept them purring like pet cats.


    Emile Zola

  • The old lady had made her toilette, and her cat was purring on a cushion by her side.

British Dictionary definitions for purring


  1. (intr) (esp of cats) to make a low vibrant sound, usually considered as expressing pleasure, etc
  2. (tr) to express (pleasure, etc) by this sound
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  1. a purring sound
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Word Origin for purr

C17: of imitative origin; compare French ronronner to purr, German schnurren, Dutch snorren
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 purring



1610s, of imitative origin. Related: Purred; purring. As a noun from c.1600.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper