1. The soft vibrant sound made by a cat.
2. A sound similar to that made by a cat: the purr of an engine.
v. purred, purr·ing, purrs
To make or utter a soft vibrant sound: The cat purred. The sewing machine purred.
To express by a soft vibrant sound.
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.