Main definitions of purl in US 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 knit (adjective)

verb

[with object]
  • Knit with a purl stitch.

    ‘knit one, purl one’
    • ‘Purl one, knit one, purl one, purl one - wait, that was a knit, wasn't it?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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…’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘It was just an experiment piece - where I tried to remember how to knit, purl, cast off, increase and decrease etc.’
    • ‘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.’
    gurgle, bubble, murmur, purr, tinkle, whir, drone, rumble, buzz, hum
    View synonyms

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

/pərl//pərl/

Main definitions of purl in US English:

: purl1purl2

purl2

verb

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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He sits on the bank and, wretched, stares into the purling water.’
    splash, wash, swish, slap, slosh, break
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noun

  • A purling motion or sound.

    • ‘The shadows lurched forward, purling around his ankles like tendrils of smoke.’
    • ‘His hands just purled off notes in all shapes and forms.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘See how easily the white meat slices,’ a dark, rumbling voice purled around the gunner's ears.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Somewhere in the alleyway outside, cat song purled into the night.’
    splash, purl, babble, burble
    View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation

purl

/pərl//pərl/