Definition of furl in English:

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Pronunciation: /fərl/


[with object]
1Roll or fold up and secure neatly (a flag, sail, umbrella, or other piece of fabric): he shouted to the crew to furl sails (as adjective furled) a furled umbrella
More example sentences
  • Fearing they would be blown into the island cliffs, the crew furled the main sail, then to lower the ship's profile further, Alexander ordered the main spar lowered.
  • Aida remembered that Maria arose early in the morning, when the blooms were tightly furled.
  • Men who have climbed a gyrating mast to furl a sail in a storm or have laboured at the helm in rough seas will never underestimate the power of the sea.
1.1 [no object] literary Become rolled up; curl: (as adjective furled) the plant sends up cones of furled leaves
More example sentences
  • Jaime looked sideways, at a police officer with a gun in his hands, smoke furling out of the gun's barrel.
  • Smoke rose from a hall in the roof and drifted with the wind, twisting and furling in on itself until you were unable to see it.
  • Getting dressed up in elegant gowns, putting your hair in complicated twists and furls.



Example sentences
  • A more versatile boat would be similar to the M - 20 but with a furlable main sail and gennaker/genoa.
  • The instrument package would remain on the last-stage rocket, which could serve as a counterpoise for the furlable antenna of the beacon.
  • The inflatable arch tube with furlable canopy and an inflatable double-floor provides protection from inclement weather and hypothermia.


Late 16th century: from French ferler, from Old French fer, ferm 'firm' + lier 'bind' (from Latin ligare).

  • ally from Middle English:

    Latin alligere ‘combine together’, formed from ad- ‘to(gether)’ and ligare ‘bind’ developed into two closely related words in Old French: alier which became ally in English, and aloyer which became alloy (late 16th century). Ligare is also hidden in furl (late 16th century) which comes from French ferler, from ferm ‘firm’ and lier ‘bind’; league (Late Middle English) a binding together; and oblige (Middle English) originally meaning ‘bind by oath’.

Words that rhyme with furl

birl, burl, churl, curl, earl, Erle, girl, herl, hurl, knurl, merle, pas seul, pearl, purl, Searle, skirl, squirl, swirl, twirl, whirl, whorl

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: furl

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