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purl1

[purl] /pɜrl/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
1.
to knit with a reverse stitch.
2.
to finish with loops or a looped edging.
noun
3.
a basic stitch in knitting, the reverse of the knit, formed by pulling a loop of the working yarn back through an existing stitch and then slipping that stitch off the needle.
Compare knit (def 11).
4.
one of a series of small loops along the edge of lace braid.
5.
thread made of twisted gold or silver wire.
Also, pearl.
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30; variant of obsolete or dial. pirl to twist (threads, etc.) into a cord

purl2

[purl] /pɜrl/
verb (used without object)
1.
to flow with curling or rippling motion, as a shallow stream does over stones.
2.
to flow with a murmuring sound.
3.
to pass in a manner or with a sound likened to this.
noun
4.
the action or sound of purling.
5.
a circle or curl made by the motion of water; ripple; eddy.
Origin
1545-55; origin uncertain; akin to Norwegian purla to bubble up, gush
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for purl

purl1

/pɜːl/
noun
1.
Also called purl stitch. a knitting stitch made by doing a plain stitch backwards
2.
a decorative border, as of lace
3.
gold or silver wire thread
verb
4.
to knit (a row or garment) in purl stitch
5.
to edge (something) with a purl
Also (for senses 2, 3, 5) pearl
Word Origin
C16: from dialect pirl to twist into a cord

purl2

/pɜːl/
verb
1.
(intransitive) (of a stream, etc) to flow with a gentle curling or rippling movement and a murmuring sound
noun
2.
a curling movement of water; eddy
3.
a murmuring sound, as of a shallow stream
Word Origin
C16: related to Norwegian purla to bubble
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 purl
v.

"knit with inverted stitches," 1825; earlier "embroider with gold or silver thread" (1520s), probably from Middle English pirlyng "revolving, twisting," of unknown origin. The two senses usually are taken as one word, but even this is not certain. Klein suggests a source in Italian pirolare "to twirl," from pirolo "top." As a noun, from late 14c. as "bordering, frills," 1530s as "twisted thread of gold and silver."

"flow with a murmuring sound," 1580s, imitative, perhaps from a Scandinavian language. Related: Purled; purling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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6
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