Definition of herl in English:



  • A barb or filament of a feather used in dressing a fishing fly.

    • ‘He casts the royal coachman - white wings and russet hackle, pheasant tippits and peacock herl - to feign the nymph and summon rainbows from a shadow world.’
    • ‘The best combination of colours seemed to be chartreuse green and white, yellow, green and white, and a mixture of grizzly, white and dark purple and peacock herl topping.’
    • ‘Not so long ago the standard patterns were either seal's fur buzzers, or similar flies in pheasant-tail, or some dark coloured herl.’
    • ‘Bring the peacock herl forward to form a back to the fly and tie off.’
    • ‘Four natural peacock herls are also used to form the back and head.’
    • ‘The fish was taken, it's said, from Loch Ken by the gamekeeper on a peacock herl tied on a hook.’
    • ‘I had an immensely complicated pattern to imitate them, carved out of spun marabou with knotted black eyeballs of ostrich herl.’
    • ‘After winding the silk back to the eye, wrap the peacock herl round the shank and up to the eye.’
    • ‘The body is a bronze peacock herl tied fat and tapering to the rear.’
    • ‘Tie in silver oval tinsel under the hook, followed by peach wool tail and two peacock herls.’


Late Middle English: apparently of Germanic origin and related to Middle Low German harle.