from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A hole, aperture, especially a nostril.
  • v. To pierce, perforate, penetrate.
  • v. To drill or bore.
  • v. To throw (a projectile).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To bore; to drill or thrill. See thrill.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pierce; bore; perforate; drill.
  • To produce, as a hole, by piercing, boring, or drilling.
  • Figuratively, to penetrate; pierce, as with some keen emotion; especially, to wound.
  • To cause to vibrate, quiver, or tingle; thrill.
  • To make a hole, as by piercing or boring.
  • To vibrate; quiver; tingle; thrill.
  • In coal-mining, to cut away the last web of coal separating two headings or other workings.
  • To thrall, bind, or subject; especially, to bind or astrict by the terms of a lease or otherwise: as, lands thirled to a particular mill. See thirlage.
  • n. A hole; an opening; a place of entrance, as a door or a window.
  • n. In coal-mining, a short passage cut for ventilation between two headings; a cross-hole. Also thirling.
  • n. In Scots law, a tract of land the tenants of which were bound to bring all their grain to a certain mill: same as sucken.


From Middle English thirl, thiril, from Old English þyrel ("a hole made through anything, opening, aperture, orifice, perforation"), from Proto-Germanic *þurhilan (“hole, opening”), equivalent to through +‎ -le. Related to thrill, drill. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English thirlen, thurlen, thorlen, from Old English þyrlian, þyrelian ("to make a hole through, pierce through, perforate; make hollow, excavate; make vain"), from the noun (see above). (Wiktionary)
Origin uncertain. Perhaps a blend of throw and hurl. (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • When beaten to the doughnuts by an early thirl, I adopt all the characteristics of a surly churl.

    December 19, 2007

  • I'm completely serious, and don't call me Shirley.

    December 19, 2007

  • !!!!

    Dr Seuss, be very afraid. We're comin' for ya.

    December 19, 2007

  • So, let me see whether I have this right:

    The peasants who preposterously peppered the history of Milling were willing thirls who were burly, pearly, girly, surly, whirly, and curly. They were all enthralled, big and small, and crawled before their masters in the manor hall, sometimes stalling to dodge cannon balls. Above all, they refused to forestall breakfast in the dining hall and appeared there early to snaffle the doughnuts.

    They were milling's willingly enthralled burly, pearly, girly, surly, whirly, curly, early, big and small manor-hall crawling, sometimes stalling, cannon-ball dodging, dining-hall doughnut eaters.

    Some may have been called Shirley.

    December 19, 2007

  • *deep breath*

    Right. The fascinating history of Milling is preposterously peppered with peasants who were strong, had marvellous teeth, wore dresses, didn't smile, indulged in Morris dancing, had hair not straight and got to the office before reesetee in order to snaffle the doughnuts.

    They were burly, pearly, girly, surly, whirly, curly, early thirls.

    Such thrilling thirls were thoroughly enthralling. Tho thayeth rolig.

    December 19, 2007

  • Oh, nothing. I just thought maybe some of the more conscientious ones were early thirls.

    December 19, 2007

  • Go on reesetee, I know something's coming :-7

    December 19, 2007

  • So thirls were held in thrall?

    December 19, 2007

  • Were they always on time?

    December 19, 2007

  • Indeed, the pages of feudal history are littered with peasants who were strong, had marvellous teeth, wore dresses, didn't smile, indulged in Morris dancing and had hair not straight.

    They were burly, pearly, girly, surly, whirly, curly thirls.

    And stop calling me _____.

    December 19, 2007

  • I wonder if they were surly thirls.

    December 19, 2007

  • "The term Thirl originated from the feudal past when a thirl was a body servant, retainer or vassal to a noble or chief." - Wikipedia.

    December 19, 2007

  • True, Abraxas. It is rather unassuming.

    February 16, 2007

  • Man, what great double meaning! I only wish the word were more impressive,

    February 16, 2007

  • 1. to pierce or 2. to thrill.

    February 16, 2007