Australian Slang: used in the phrase "give it a burl", meaning "give it a go".

Ex. "I have never jumped off a bridge with a rope tied around my feet, but I'm willing to give it a burl."

Burl is a beautiful kind of wood. Ever looked at a woodcarver's wares and seen some object, a bowl, tray, or tobacco pipe made of wood with a dense and twisting grain? That's burl.

Some causes are:

Any way it starts, it causes a massive haphazard growth of cells (much like cancer), that cause twists and knots in the wood. This is what gives the pattern burl's prized for!

Some trivia:

  • Burl wood is usually darker than the characteristic color of the tree
  • Since the grain isn't coordinated, it cannot be relied on to be strong (as tobacco pipe mentions, burl is hard, but hard != strong)
  • Burl is difficult to dry without cracking
  • Burl comes in all shapes and sizes, from a ping pong ball size to 1m by 2m!

Burl is obtained though (gasp) wood dealers, and if you google around, there are many boutique websites specializing in burl.

Burl is harvested by professionals. Some info and pictures here (including how not to harvest burl): One of the more interesting things on that website, is that people hunt burl, and cut it off of trees, leaving the tree intact and healthy!

Info from (there are some good pictures there too! Please /msg me if you have additions/suggestions/comments.)

Burl (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Burled (); p. pr. & vb. n. Burling.] [OE. burle stuffing, or a knot in cloth; cf. F. bourlet, bourrelet, OF. bourel, a wreath or a roll of cloth, linen, or leather, stuffed with flocks, etc., dim. of bourre. 92. See Bur.]

To dress or finish up (cloth); to pick knots, burs, loose threads, etc., from, as in finishing cloth.

Burling iron, a peculiar kind of nippers or tweezers used in burling woolen cloth.


© Webster 1913.

Burl, n.


A knot or lump in thread or cloth.


An overgrown knot, or an excrescence, on a tree; also, veneer made from such excrescences.


© Webster 1913.

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