Thursday, August 15, 2002

Word of the Day from M-W: purfle \PER-ful\
to ornament the border or edges of

Today we use "purfle" mostly in reference to setting a decorative inlaid border around the body of a guitar or violin, a process known as "purfling." In the past, "purfle" got the most use in connection with adornment of garments. "The Bishop of Ely . . . wore a robe of scarlet . . . purfled with minever," reported an English clergyman in 1840, for example. We embellished our language with "purfle," first as "purfilen" in the 1300s, when we took it with its meaning from Middle French "porfiler." Related to "purfle" is "filigree," which is used as a noun for ornamental work made of fine wire, and also as a verb meaning "to adorn with filigree." "Purfle" and "filigree" share the Latin source "filum," which means "thread."

No comments: