One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
verbBritish Regional, Scottish
1with object To twist, wind, or spin (threads, fibres, wires, etc.) into cord, braid, net, etc.
2no object To whirl; to revolve rapidly, spin.
3with object To cause to revolve, to spin, roll; to throw or toss with spinning motion.
Early 16th century; earliest use found in John Skelton (c1460–1529), poet. Origin uncertain; perhaps ultimately showing two or more words of separate origin; perhaps (partly) imitative. Attested earliest in pirling, which in its earliest sense apparently shows sense 3a. With sense 1 compare purl, purl, which apparently show senses developed ultimately from this word.
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