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 knit

noun

  • A purl stitch.

    • ‘To spend a long part of your career knitting one purl, one plain, operating mainly below the radar level, and then to receive one of the world's great prizes is amazing.’
    babble, burble, lap
    View synonyms

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • Knit with a purl stitch.

    ‘knit one, purl one’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Purl one, knit one, purl one, purl one - wait, that was a knit, wasn't it?’
    • ‘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.’
    gurgle, bubble, murmur, purr, tinkle, whir, drone, rumble, buzz, hum
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Origin

Mid 17th century: of uncertain origin.

Pronunciation

purl

/pərl//pərl/

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

  • A purling motion or sound.

    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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/