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purr (v.)

"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.

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Definitions of purr from WordNet
1
purr (v.)
make a soft swishing sound;
the car engine purred
Synonyms: whizz / whiz / whirr / whir / birr
purr (v.)
indicate pleasure by purring; characteristic of cats;
Synonyms: make vibrant sounds
2
purr (n.)
a low vibrating sound typical of a contented cat;
From wordnet.princeton.edu