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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.
something resembling this, as various synthetic substances for use in costume jewelry.
something similar in form, luster, etc., as a dewdrop or a capsule of medicine.
something precious or choice; the finest example of anything:
pearls of wisdom.
a very pale gray approaching white but commonly with a bluish tinge.
a pearl-handled revolver.
Printing. a 5-point type.
Also called epithelial pearl. Pathology. a rounded mass of keratin occurring in certain carcinomas of the skin.
to adorn or stud with or as with pearls.
to make like pearls, as in form or color.
to dive, fish, or search for pearls.
to assume a pearllike form or appearance.
resembling a pearl in form or color.
of or relating to pearls:
pearl diving.
set with a pearl or pearls or covered or inlaid with pearls or mother-of-pearl:
a pearl necklace.
having or reduced to small, rounded grains.
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.
purl1 .
a town in central Mississippi.
a female given name.
to knit with a reverse stitch.
to finish with loops or a looped edging.
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).
one of a series of small loops along the edge of lace braid.
thread made of twisted gold or silver wire.
Contemporary Examples

In the hospital the state of his handwriting was terrible, he says, but he “scribbled” much of Inside a pearl while in hospital.
Edmund White: Sex, Success, and Survival Tim Teeman February 10, 2014

As we left to recuperate at, yes, the vaunted Starbucks, Jigs reminded me of a moment in pearl Square.
Inside the Bahrain Revolt Karen Leigh February 18, 2011

What was America supposed to do after pearl Harbor, put the keys to the Golden Gate in an airmail envelope and send them to Tojo?
Up To A Point: What We Really Need Is a Nobel War Prize P. J. O’Rourke October 10, 2014

Eight years after pearl Harbor, the closest historic parallel, World War II was four years over.
Bush Wrecked 9/11 John Avlon September 9, 2009

Whether Girl with a pearl Earring is on a par with this dress (or any other) isn’t relevant there.
Royal Round-Up:Phone Hacking, Harry’s Rickshaw Ride, Eva/Charles Friendship and Kate’s Dress Tom Sykes July 14, 2012

Historical Examples

We rowed back to the pearl for breakfast, and to prepare for the search.
The Voodoo Gold Trail Walter Walden

“Just about as much as I gave you that pearl pin,” retorted Kirkwood hotly.
The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance

I care not for all those strings of pearl, which you fret me by warping into my tresses, Janet.
Kenilworth Sir Walter Scott

You shake it; it’s the pearl stud there was last year—that’s all.
Monday or Tuesday Virginia Woolf

To westward; the last of the spent day—rust-red and pearl, illimitable levels of shore waiting for the tide to turn again.
Letters of Travel (1892-1913) Rudyard Kipling

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
any artificial gem resembling this
See mother-of-pearl
a person or thing that is like a pearl, esp in beauty or value
a pale greyish-white colour, often with a bluish tinge
a size of printer’s type, approximately equal to 5 point
of, made of, or set with pearl or mother-of-pearl
having the shape or colour of a pearl
(transitive) to set with or as if with pearls
to shape into or assume a pearl-like form or colour
(intransitive) to dive or search for pearls
noun, verb
a variant spelling of purl1 (sense 2), purl1 (sense 3), purl1 (sense 5)
Also called purl stitch. a knitting stitch made by doing a plain stitch backwards
a decorative border, as of lace
gold or silver wire thread
to knit (a row or garment) in purl stitch
to edge (something) with a purl
(intransitive) (of a stream, etc) to flow with a gentle curling or rippling movement and a murmuring sound
a curling movement of water; eddy
a murmuring sound, as of a shallow stream

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).

“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.

pearl (pûrl)

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.

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

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.

1. A language for constructive mathematics developed by Constable at Cornell University in the 1980s.
2. Process and Experiment Automation Real-Time Language.
3. One of five pedagogical languages based on Markov algorithms, used in “Nonpareil, a Machine Level Machine Independent Language for the Study of Semantics”, B. Higman, ULICS Intl Report No ICSI 170, U London (1968). Compare Brilliant, Diamond, Nonpareil, Ruby.
4. A multilevel language developed by Brian Randell ca 1970 and mentioned in “Machine Oriented Higher Level Languages”, W. van der Poel, N-H 1974.
5. An obsolete term for Larry Wall’s PERL programming language, which never fell into common usage other than in typographical errors. The missing ‘a’ remains as an atrophied remnant in the expansion “Practical Extraction and Report Language”.
[“Programming Perl”, Larry Wall and Randal L. Schwartz, O’Reilly & Associates, Inc. Sebastopol, CA. ISBN 0-93715-64-1].

(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.


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