1. A knot, lump, or slub in yarn or cloth.
a. A large rounded outgrowth on the trunk or branch of a tree.
b. The wood cut from such an outgrowth, often used decoratively as a veneer.
tr.v. burled, burl·ing, burls
To dress or finish (cloth) by removing knots, lumps, slubs, or loose threads.
[Middle English burle, from Old French bourle, tuft of wool, diminutive of bourre, coarse wool, from Late Latin burra, shaggy garment.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.