A pearl is a white, round gem formed inside an oyster or clam. Pearl can also refer to something that resembles the gem in color or shape, like a pearl of sweat that forms on your forehead when you're hot.

Why is a pearl called a pearl? It isn't clear where the Medieval Latin word perla comes from. Some believe it refers to the shape of the shell in which pearls are found: either pear, like the shapely fruit, or perna, literally "ham," because the shell is shaped like a pig's leg.

Definitions of pearl
  1. noun
    a smooth lustrous round structure inside the shell of a clam or oyster; much valued as a jewel
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    seed pearl
    a small imperfect pearl
    type of:
    gem, jewel, precious stone
    a precious or semiprecious stone incorporated into a piece of jewelry
  2. noun
    a shade of white the color of bleached bones
    synonyms: bone, ivory, off-white
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    type of:
    white, whiteness
    the quality or state of the achromatic color of greatest lightness (bearing the least resemblance to black)
  3. noun
    a shape that is spherical and small
    synonyms: bead, drop
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    a drop of dew
    anything shaped like a falling drop (as a pendant gem on an earring)
    type of:
    a solid figure bounded by a spherical surface (including the space it encloses)
  4. verb
    gather pearls, from oysters in the ocean
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    type of:
    collect, garner, gather, pull together
    assemble or get together
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