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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a cat purrs (=makes a soft noise that shows pleasure)
▪ The cat purred as she stroked it.
▪ "What a good idea," she purred.
▪ Our limo purred smoothly down the tree-lined road.
▪ A boat's engine, throttled back and purring softly, somewhere beyond the headland to the east.
▪ And the idea that postural or emotional changes could bring on purring also seems far-fetched.
▪ The cat looked into my eyes and began to purr.
▪ The engines became quieter, purring quite ordinarily as they approached these resting places.
▪ The trembling had stopped, though the cat didn't yet purr.
▪ The truck purred along the road, with the other truck following it.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Pur \Pur\, n. The low, murmuring sound made by a cat to express contentment or pleasure. [Written also purr.]


Pur \Pur\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Purred; p. pr. & vb. n. Purring.] [Of imitative origin; cf. Prov. G. purren.] To utter a low, murmuring, continued sound, as a cat does when pleased. [Written also purr.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1610s, of imitative origin. Related: Purred; purring. As a noun from c.1600.


n. 1 The vibrating sound made by a cat in its throat when contented. 2 A throaty, seductive sound of pleasure made by a person. 3 The low consistent rumble made by an engine at slow speed vb. 1 (context intransitive English) Of a cat, to make a vibrating sound in its throat when contented. 2 (context transitive English) To say (something) in a throaty, seductive manner. 3 (context intransitive English) To make a vibrating throaty sound, as from pleasure. 4 (context intransitive of an engine English) To make a low and consistent rumble sound.

  1. n. a low vibrating sound typical of a contented cat

  2. v. make a soft swishing sound; "the motor whirred"; "the car engine purred" [syn: whizz, whiz, whirr, whir, birr]

  3. indicate pleasure by purring; characteristic of cats [syn: make vibrant sounds]


A purr is a tonal fluttering sound made by some species of felids, and two species of genets. It varies in loudness and tone among species; and in the same animal.

Although purring is commonly associated with felids, other animals such as raccoons purr. Other purring animals include viverrids ( civet), mongoose, bears, badgers, hyaenas, rabbits, squirrels, guinea pigs, tapirs, ring-tailed lemurs, elephants, and gorillas while eating.

Purr (disambiguation)

A purr is a sound in cat communication.

Purr may also refer to:

  • Purr (Pillow Pal), a Pillow Pal tiger made by Ty, Inc.
  • Purr (fragrance), a fragrance by Katy Perry
  • PURRR, a fictional organization [P.U.R.R.R. - Philanthropic Union for Rescue, Relief and Recuperation of Cats] in "The Hidden Tiger" episode of The Avengers (TV series)

Usage examples of "purr".

The springs snapped to life and the armatures began moving, and soon the dark spider was alive, whirring and purring under its own mechanical power.

Turning, he yelled down in the direction of the mainmast, where a large black, furry mass lay half asleep, purring sonorously.

Some part of Tryl noted that Stft took over the prisoner while Mank moved forward, picking up his despondent slave, purring to him and offering comfort.

Marcy felt unable to move for more reasons than her precarious towel, the purring cat she held, for even more than the melty feeling.

As an added precaution there were three monocycles purring next to the curb.

No one could outstare her, and when at last the opposing eyes blinked she would stretch and purr and wind herself around her victim in triumphant pleasure.

How the kitten purred when from coarse burlap, onion sacks, and other permeable material Eddi Amsel sewed shirtlike undergarments.

But Phosphor purrs like a windmill, like an electric car, like a tea-kettle, like a whole boiled dinner.

The faint hum of the insect, the intermittent murmur of the guitar, the mellow complainings of the pigeons, the prolonged purr of the white cat, the contented clucking of the hens--all these noises mingled together to form a faint, drowsy bourdon, prolonged, stupefying, suggestive of an infinite quiet, of a calm, complacent life, centuries old, lapsing gradually to its end under the gorgeous loneliness of a cloudless, pale blue sky and the steady fire of an interminable sun.

I trace the same customs in the Arab djemmaa and the Afghan purra, in the villages of Persia, India, and Java, in the undivided family of the Chinese, in the encampments of the semi-nomads of Central Asia and the nomads of the far North.

I saw her breasts rise and fall in pleasure beneath the flames that gowned her, and she let out a small, purring sound of satisfaction.

Only a few minutes of stroking and purring and his eyes stopped leaking the water, though they seemed puffy.

Tryl held him against his warmth and rubbed his back, purring and making comforting sounds.

Tryl closed his eyes, purring softly, letting Yai be the aggressor for now.

Tryl slowed his purring, gathering furs and pressing them in around Yai as he backed away from his sleeping slave.