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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
pearl1 /pɝl/USA pronunciation   n. 
  1. Invertebrates[countable] a smooth, rounded bead, formed within the shells of oysters, valued as a gem.
  2. Jewelry[countable] something resembling this, as in costume jewelry.
  3. something precious or choice[countable]pearls of wisdom.
  4. [uncountable] a pale gray, often with a bluish tinge.
  5. Jewelrymother-of-pearl.

adj. [before a noun]
  1. of or resembling a pearl.
pearl•y, adj., -i•er, -i•est. 

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2016
pearl1  (pûrl), 
  1. Invertebrates, Jewelrya 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. Cf.cultured pearl. 
  2. Jewelrysomething 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. Jewelrymother-of-pearl:a pearl-handled revolver.
  7. Printing[Print.]a 5-point type.
  8. PathologyAlso called epithelial pearl. [Pathol.]a rounded mass of keratin occurring in certain carcinomas of the skin.
  9. Idiomscast 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.

  1. to adorn or stud with or as with pearls.
  2. to make like pearls, as in form or color.

  1. to dive, fish, or search for pearls.
  2. to assume a pearllike form or appearance.

  1. resembling a pearl in form or color.
  2. of or pertaining to pearls:pearl diving.
  3. Jewelryset with a pearl or pearls or covered or inlaid with pearls or mother-of-pearl:a pearl necklace.
  4. having or reduced to small, rounded grains.
  • Italian or assumed Vulgar Latin *perla ( German Perle, Old English pærl), for Latin *pernula ( Portuguese perola, perh. Old Saxon përula), diminutive of Latin perna sea mussel
  • Middle French
  • Middle English perle 1300–50
pearler, n. 
pearlish, adj. 
pearllike′, adj. 

pearl2  (pûrl), 
v.t., v.i., n. 
  1. Clothingpurl1.

Pearl  (pûrl), 
  1. Place Namesa town in central Mississippi. 20,778.
  2. a female given name.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

pearl /pɜːl/ n
  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
  2. any artificial gem resembling this
  3. See mother-of-pearl
  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
  1. of, made of, or set with pearl or mother-of-pearl
  2. having the shape or colour of a pearl
  1. (transitive) to set with or as if with pearls
  2. to shape into or assume a pearl-like form or colour
  3. (intransitive) to dive or search for pearls
Etymology: 14th Century: from Old French, from Vulgar Latin pernula (unattested), from Latin perna sea mussel
pearl /pɜːl/ n , vb
  1. a variant spelling of purl1, purl1, purl1


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