Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: DAILY LIFE

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: perle, from Vulgar Latin pernula, from Latin perna 'mussel'

pearl

noun
     
pearl
1

jewel

[countable] a small round white object that forms inside an oyster, and is a valuable jewel:
a string of pearls (=a necklace made of pearls)
2

hard substance

[uncountable]D a hard shiny substance of various colours formed inside some shellfish, which is used for making buttons or to make objects look attractive [= mother-of-pearl]
3

pearls of wisdom

wise remarks - used especially when you really think that someone's remarks are slightly stupid:
Thank you for those pearls of wisdom, Emma.
4

cast/throw pearls before swine

formal to give something valuable to someone who does not understand its value
5

liquid

[countable] literary a small round drop of liquid:
the pearls of the morning dew
6

excellent thing/person

[countable usually singular] old-fashioned someone or something that is especially good or valuable
pearl among
She's a pearl among women.
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