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.
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.
verb (used with object)
to adorn or stud with or as with pearls.
to make like pearls, as in form or color.
verb (used without object)
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:
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.
verb (used with or without object), noun
verb (used with or without object)
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 (def 11).
one of a series of small loops along the edge of lace braid.
thread made of twisted gold or silver wire.
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
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
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.
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.
(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.
[per-les-uh nt] /pərˈlɛs ənt/ adjective 1. having an iridescent luster resembling that of pearl; nacreous: healthy skin with a pearlescent glow.
noun 1. a lustrous, silvery-white substance obtained from the scales of certain fishes or derived synthetically, as from mercuric chloride: used chiefly in the manufacture of simulated pearls and as a pigment in lacquer (pearl lacquer)
[purl-ahy] /ˈpɜrlˌaɪ/ noun, plural pearleyes (especially collectively) pearleye. 1. any of several deep-sea fishes of the family Scopelarchidae, having large, hooked teeth on the tongue, telescopic , and an iridescent patch on each tube.
[purl-fish] /ˈpɜrlˌfɪʃ/ noun, plural pearlfishes (especially collectively) pearlfish. 1. any of several small of the family Carapidae, living within oysters, sea cucumbers, starfishes, etc.