Main definitions of purl in English

: purl1purl2

purl1

adjective

  • attributive Denoting or relating to a knitting stitch made by putting the needle through the front of the stitch from right to left.

    Compare with plain (sense 6 of the adjective)

verb

[with object]
  • Knit with a purl stitch.

    ‘knit one, purl one’
    • ‘I was most overwhelmed and went to bed having nightmares about socked feet walking up and down my naked body shouting knit one purl one faster faster…’
    • ‘Although, I find it less annoying than a rib - knit 3, move yarn, purl 3, move yarn, repeat - because I always loose track of what stitch I'm on.’
    • ‘Or perhaps it'll be cyber-knitters, chanting some elaborated version of ‘knit one, purl two’ as they create mythic tapestries or heal rifts in the fabric of space-time.’
    • ‘Suddenly he found there were other skills he had to teach his girls - knitting was just one of them, but the self-taught silversmith soon picked up the knit one, purl one skills as well!’
    • ‘Purl one, knit one, purl one, purl one - wait, that was a knit, wasn't it?’
    • ‘It was just an experiment piece - where I tried to remember how to knit, purl, cast off, increase and decrease etc.’
    • ‘I searched the Internet and found Web sites that had actual movies of how to cast on as well as knit, purl, and cast off.’
    gurgle, bubble, murmur, purr, tinkle, whir, drone, rumble, buzz, hum
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noun

mass noun
  • 1A cord of twisted gold or silver wire used for bordering or edging something.

    • ‘The spangle kept in place by a stitch through a short piece of Purl.’
    1. 1.1 An ornamental edging of lace or ribbon.
      • ‘Portrayed in seventeenth-century dress, the central figures are richly picked out in colourful threads of satin and stern stitch with couched silk and purl.’

Origin

Late Middle English (as noun): of uncertain origin.

Pronunciation

purl

/pəːl/

Main definitions of purl in English

: purl1purl2

purl2

verb

[no object]literary
  • (of a stream or river) flow with a swirling motion and babbling sound.

    ‘large stones stood blackly in the water, making it purl as it rolled around them’
    • ‘Miri could not imagine there was such a beautiful place as the island of Philae, an island amongst islands washed by the purling waters of the Nile.’
    • ‘The water gurgled and purled, loudly at first, then softly, as a powerful foot-wide whirlpool took shape.’
    • ‘I look out of the window and through the purling drops I can see gutters running with water; I can see the clouds almost black with rain to come.’
    • ‘He sits on the bank and, wretched, stares into the purling water.’
    splash, wash, swish, slap, slosh, break
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noun

literary
  • A purling motion or sound.

    ‘it was quiet except for the liquid purl of the fountain’
    • ‘His hands just purled off notes in all shapes and forms.’
    • ‘A mercurial figure whom Sacco often draws veiled in purls of cigarette smoke, Neven is a ‘fixer,’ a source and guide to foreign journalists seeking access to the front lines.’
    • ‘No. 23 (F Major - Moderato) purls off the piano like drops of water for some forty seconds before the conclusion begins, in No. 24 (D Minor - Allegro appassionato), sweeping, broad, interlaced with runs.’
    • ‘Somewhere in the alleyway outside, cat song purled into the night.’
    • ‘The shadows lurched forward, purling around his ankles like tendrils of smoke.’
    • ‘‘See how easily the white meat slices,’ a dark, rumbling voice purled around the gunner's ears.’
    splash, purl, babble, burble
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Origin

Early 16th century (denoting a small swirling stream): probably imitative; compare with Norwegian purla ‘bubble up’.

Pronunciation

purl

/pəːl/