Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a fibre, especially a fibre of hemp or flax, or an individual fibre of a feather
  • n. A barb, or barbs, of a fine large feather, as of a peacock or ostrich, used in dressing artificial flies.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A filamentous substance; especially, the filaments of flax or hemp.
  • n. A barb, or barbs, of a fine large feather, as of a peacock or ostrich, -- used in dressing artificial flies.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To drag upon the ground; drag along with force or violence; trail.
  • To entangle; confuse.
  • To cut a slit in one of the hind legs of (a dead animal), in order to suspend it.
  • To rough-east (a wall) with lime.
  • To be dragged or pulled.
  • To trail; drag one's self.
  • n. The act of dragging.
  • n. Flax, hemp, wool, hair, or other filaments as drawn out or hackled.
  • n. A barb of a feather from a peacock's tail, used as a hackle in dressing fly-hooks. Also herl, hurl.
  • n. Property obtained by means not accounted honorable.
  • n. A considerable but indefinite quantity.
  • n. A leash (three) of hounds.

Etymologies

Cognate with Middle Low German herle, Low German harle, East Frisian harrel ‘hemp fibre’. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • I am impressed that a word I have never before encountered has twelve distinct definitions. It is strange that I have never had occasion to use any of them. It is embarrassing to confess that I have never had to rough-east a wall, slit a dead beast’s hind leg to prepare it for hanging or walked my leash of three hounds. I must reform.

    Sometimes senses are found all a-snarl,
    Twisted together and bound in a gnarl.
    As you tug them asunder
    You can't help but wonder
    How so many meanings wound up in harl.

    May 24, 2014

  • This word was chosen as Wordnik word of the day.

    November 11, 2009