There are 3 main definitions of pearl in English:

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pearl 1

Pronunciation: /pərl/


1A hard, lustrous spherical mass, typically white or bluish-gray, formed within the shell of a pearl oyster or other bivalve mollusk and highly prized as a gem.
Example sentences
  • She had changed from her khaki uniform to a more casual blue slacks, white pullover sweater and blue shoes, pearl earrings and a pearl necklace.
  • In fact, the only piece of jewelry that she wore was a pearl necklace, matching pearl earrings, and a gold wedding ring encasing a ruby.
  • Her matching pearl earrings and necklace elegantly decorated her.
1.1An artificial imitation of this.
Example sentences
  • Do you want natural, cultured, or imitation pearls?
  • He experimented with the artificial culture of pearls, by inserting grit to act as a nucleus around which the new pearl would form.
  • The set created by William II is comprised of a sword, an orb, a scepter and crown - all of silver gilt and set with imitation stones and pearls.
1.2 (pearls) A necklace of pearls.
Example sentences
  • Ditch the summer's clunky ethnic beads for lady-like pearls, vintage jewellery, an old-fashioned handbag, leather gloves and a flash of stocking.
  • Jewellery, including pearls and tiaras, is available for hire or purchase.
  • Also on display are stringed natural pearls and chains with lockets that have American diamonds laid on silver plated with gold.
1.3Something resembling a pearl in appearance: the sweat stood in pearls along his forehead
More example sentences
  • Suddenly the fleece jacket on your arm, well used in colder climes, weighs heavy and pearls of sweat appear on your brow.
  • He closed his eyes; a pearl of sweat ran down his face.
  • The way it would warm cold and clammy skin, or make a pearl of sweat roll down my face.
1.4 short for mother-of-pearl.
1.5A very pale bluish gray or white like the color of a pearl.
Example sentences
  • Call it what you will - lily white, creamy white, porcelain or pearl - I am still ghostly pale.
  • Fashion critics adore her dresses in hand-dyed shades of pearl, frost, teal, grey and chocolate, worn over silk slip dresses.
  • Its hues were of white, pearl, and alabaster, and it shone with pristine care and impeccable architecture.
2A precious thing; the finest example of something: the nation’s media were assembled to hear his pearls of wisdom
More example sentences
  • Even if they do, it's your Libran duty to transmute this irritating grit into your own precious pearl of personal wisdom.
  • As Fr Brian says every child is a precious pearl and deserves to be treated as such.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, now welcome the loveliest pearl in our ocean, Yvonne.


[no object]
1 literary Form pearllike drops: the juice on the blade pearled into droplets
More example sentences
  • The perfect pear drop of a tear pearled at the side of his face.
  • A hiccup broke his voice as tears pearled at the rim of his eyes.
  • Blood pearled around the shaft of the arrow, bright red, and swelled there like a parasite until it crept down her cheek.
1.1 [with object] Make bluish-gray like a pearl: the peaked hills, blue and pearled with clouds
2 (usually as noun pearling) Dive or fish for pearl oysters.
Example sentences
  • Aside from Dubai City, a trading center which was then by far the largest town, they subsisted primarily on date production, fishing, pearling, and, for some centuries, piracy.
  • As soon as he realized the value that foreigners placed on pearls, he reserved pearling in Pearl Harbor for himself and employed commoners to dive.
  • Not so long ago trochus shelling, along with pearling and the taking of the sea cucumber were important fishery industries along the Great Barrier Reef and to the north and west of Australia.


pearls before swine

Valuable things offered or given to people who do not appreciate them.
With biblical allusion to Matt. 7:6
Example sentences
  • Oh, but even as I write I can't shake the feeling that I'm casting pearls before swine; that you don't believe a word of this, that you remain suspicious of my motives.
  • As a general rule, I advise against casting pearls before swine.
  • It was a true case of casting pearls before swine.



Example sentences
  • As can be seen in the pictures there where some real pearlers here.
  • The last quarter proved to be an absolute pearler.
  • We did, and on a day forecast as spoilt by scattered showers and cloud we were rewarded with an absolute pearler.


Late Middle English: from Old French perle, perhaps based on Latin perna 'leg', extended to denote a leg-of-mutton-shaped bivalve.

  • Pearl is from Old French perle and may be based on Latin perna ‘leg’, extended to mean a leg-of-mutton-shaped water mussel (mentioned by Pliny). The Romans greatly prized fresh-water pearls, Britain's reputation as a good source of pearls being one of the motives behind their invasion. Matthew 7:6 has provided a common idiomatic expression: ‘Neither cast ye your pearls before swine’. In Romance languages the usual word for pearl comes via Latin, from Greek margeron, possibly from some Eastern language. The word became marguerite in French, which was also used for a variety of daisy-like flowers, because they are pearly white. The word was adopted into English in the early 17th century. This is also the source of the name Margaret.

Words that rhyme with pearl

birl, burl, churl, curl, earl, Erle, furl, girl, herl, hurl, knurl, merle, pas seul, purl, Searle, skirl, squirl, swirl, twirl, whirl, whorl
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There are 3 main definitions of pearl in English:

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pearl 2

Pronunciation: /pəːl/

Entry from British & World English dictionary


Another term for picot.
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There are 3 main definitions of pearl in English:

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Pearl 3

Pronunciation: /pərl/
A city in central Mississippi, just east of Jackson; population 24,400 (est. 2008).
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