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8 Wintry Words to Defrost Your Vocabulary

pearl1

[purl] /pɜrl/
noun
1.
a smooth, rounded bead formed within the shells of certain mollusks and composed of the mineral aragonite or calcite in a matrix, deposited in concentric layers as a protective coating around an irritating foreign object: valued as a gem when lustrous and finely colored.
Compare cultured pearl.
2.
something resembling this, as various synthetic substances for use in costume jewelry.
3.
something similar in form, luster, etc., as a dewdrop or a capsule of medicine.
4.
something precious or choice; the finest example of anything:
pearls of wisdom.
5.
a very pale gray approaching white but commonly with a bluish tinge.
6.
mother-of-pearl:
a pearl-handled revolver.
7.
Printing. a 5-point type.
8.
Also called epithelial pearl. Pathology. a rounded mass of keratin occurring in certain carcinomas of the skin.
verb (used with object)
9.
to adorn or stud with or as with pearls.
10.
to make like pearls, as in form or color.
verb (used without object)
11.
to dive, fish, or search for pearls.
12.
to assume a pearllike form or appearance.
adjective
13.
resembling a pearl in form or color.
14.
of or relating to pearls:
pearl diving.
15.
set with a pearl or pearls or covered or inlaid with pearls or mother-of-pearl:
a pearl necklace.
16.
having or reduced to small, rounded grains.
Idioms
17.
cast pearls before swine, to offer or give something of great value to those incapable of appreciating it:
She read them Shakespeare but it was casting pearls before swine.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English perle < Middle French < Italian or assumed Vulgar Latin *perla (> German Perle, Old English pærl), for Latin *pernula (> Portuguese perola, perhaps Old Saxon përula), diminutive of Latin perna sea mussel
Related forms
pearler, noun
pearlish, adjective
pearllike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for pearlest

pearl1

/pɜːl/
noun
1.
a hard smooth lustrous typically rounded structure occurring on the inner surface of the shell of a clam or oyster: consists of calcium carbonate secreted in layers around an invading particle such as a sand grain; much valued as a gem related adjectives margaric margaritic
2.
any artificial gem resembling this
4.
a person or thing that is like a pearl, esp in beauty or value
5.
a pale greyish-white colour, often with a bluish tinge
6.
a size of printer's type, approximately equal to 5 point
adjective
7.
of, made of, or set with pearl or mother-of-pearl
8.
having the shape or colour of a pearl
verb
9.
(transitive) to set with or as if with pearls
10.
to shape into or assume a pearl-like form or colour
11.
(intransitive) to dive or search for pearls
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from Vulgar Latin pernula (unattested), from Latin perna sea mussel

pearl2

/pɜːl/
noun, verb
1.
a variant spelling of purl1 (sense 2), purl1 (sense 3), purl1 (sense 5)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pearlest

pearl

n.

mid-13c., from Old French perle (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin perla (mid-13c.), of unknown origin. Perhaps from Vulgar Latin *pernula, diminutive of Latin perna, which in Sicily meant "pearl," earlier "sea-mussel," literally "ham, haunch, gammon," so called for the shape of the mollusk shells.

Other theories connect it with the root of pear, also somehow based on shape, or Latin pilula "globule," with dissimilation. The usual Latin word for "pearl" was margarita (see margarite).

For pearls before swine, see swine. Pearl Harbor translates Hawaiian Wai Momi, literally "pearl waters," so named for the pearl oysters found there; transferred sense of "effective sudden attack" is attested from 1942 (in reference to Dec. 7, 1941).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pearlest in Medicine

pearl (pûrl)
n.

  1. A small sphere of thin glass containing amyl nitrite or other volatile fluid, designed to be crushed, as in a handkerchief, so that its contents can be inhaled.

  2. Any of a number of small tough masses of mucus occurring in the sputum in asthma.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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pearlest in Science
pearl
  (pûrl)   
A smooth, slightly iridescent, white or grayish rounded growth inside the shells of some mollusks. Pearls form as a reaction to the presence of a foreign particle, and consist of thin layers of mother-of-pearl that are deposited around the particle. The pearls of oysters are often valued as gems.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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pearlest in the Bible

(Heb. gabish, Job 28:18; Gr. margarites, Matt. 7:6; 13:46; Rev. 21:21). The pearl oyster is found in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. Its shell is the "mother of pearl," which is of great value for ornamental purposes (1 Tim. 2:9; Rev. 17:4). Each shell contains eight or ten pearls of various sizes.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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