PROFILE, an outline or contour drawing, particularly the drawing of the outline of the human face as seen from the side, or in architecture the contour of a part of a building, of a moulding, etc., as shown by a vertical section. In fortification the " profile " of an earthwork is an outline of a transverse section and gives the relative thickness; so a work is said to be " of strong " or " of weak " profile. The Fr. profit, formerly porfil, pourfil, Ital. profilo, proffilo, are formed from Lat. pro, and filare, to draw a line, Alum, thread.
The French pourfil also gave English " purfle," to embroider the edge of a fabric with gold or other thread ; this was further corrupted to "purl," now often wrongly spelt "pearl," an inverted stitch in knitting.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)