from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Two very narrow strips of black wood enclosing a lighter-coloured strip of wood set close to the edge of the top and back of a string instrument such as a violin, cello or a guitar, following its outline. Double, painted-on and decorative patterns of purfling are also found.
  • v. Present participle of purfle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Ornamentation on the border of a thing; specifically, the inlaid border of a musical instrument, as a violin.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An ornamental border, generally composed of ebony and maple or sycamore, inlaid in the edges of violins and similar instruments.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The purfling is a trifle wider, but narrower than that afterwards used.

    The Violin Its Famous Makers and Their Imitators

  • The purfling also forms an important item in the collection of landmarks; certain makers are supposed to have invariably used one kind of purfling, no variation being allowed for width or material adopted.

    The Violin Its Famous Makers and Their Imitators

  • When you are about say an inch from each on both of its turns, work the three-quarter inch gouge, 52, still more guardedly, and barely so deep, and to a very fine point, both curves, ready to receive the two joined pieces of purfling which is to present you with what is called the "Bees 'sting."

    Violin Making 'The Strad' Library, No. IX.

  • And if your eyes saw her earth, and the adornment thereof with bloom, and the purfling of it with all manner blossoms, and the islands of the Nile and how much is therein of wide spread and goodly prospect, and if you bent your sight upon the Abyssinian

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • And the reason he bothered to do it was because otherwise you just don't get your purfling [the three - piece wood sandwich that runs along the edge of a violin] to meet up, and you have a stupid-looking clunky thing, so it was actually a very practical, workmanlike adaptation to some design thing that he wanted to do.

    Isolating the Violin's Song

  • The way wood contributes is by vibrating in a certain way, moving in a certain way, a way in which the purfling is assimilated.

    Isolating the Violin's Song

  • He turned it over and over in the sunlight, amazed at the exquisite purfling and binding, the gorgeous inlay and the perfect craftsmanship of the tapered sections of the belly.

    Captain Corelli's Mandolin

  • The guitar Dickie had bought at one of those nighttime open-air markets where twenty-dollar "Rolex" watches and ten-dollar "Gucci" loafers were sold, and to the untrained eye, it looked exactly like a dandy Martin D-28, right down to the herringbone purfling.

    Villa Incognito

  • The Guarneri lay there, its top and its purfling gleaming, the repository of two hundred and fifty years of music-making shimmering from its F holes, its sides, and its pegs.

    A Traitor to Memory

  • On all of these instruments will be found his name, surrounded with a design in purfling, under the finger-board, or his monogram executed in purfling.

    The Violin Its Famous Makers and Their Imitators


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  • "How do you like purfling?"

    "I don't know; I've never purfled."

    November 15, 2007

  • Sometimes used synonymously to refer to an instrument's binding, purfling is actually the strips of wood or other binding material inside the outer binding of the guitar or other stringed instrument.

    November 15, 2007