See more synonyms for pur on Thesaurus.com


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.
verb (used with object)
  1. to express by or as if by purring.
  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.

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

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
  1. a purring sound

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper