"uttering a low, murmuring sound expressive of satisfaction or pleasure, as a cat," 1610s, of imitative origin. Related: Purred; purring. As a noun, "sound made by a purring cat," from c. 1600. A similar imitative word, curr "make a low murmuring sound, purr" (1670s), was used of doves and cats.
updated on February 11, 2021