AskDefine | Define whirl

The Collaborative Dictionary

Whirl \Whirl\, v. i. [1913 Webster]
To be turned round rapidly; to move round with velocity; to revolve or rotate with great speed; to gyrate. "The whirling year vainly my dizzy eyes pursue." --J. H. Newman. [1913 Webster] The wooden engine flies and whirls about. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]
To move hastily or swiftly. [1913 Webster] But whirled away to shun his hateful sight. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]
Whirl \Whirl\, n. [Cf. Dan. hvirvel, Sw. hvirfvel, Icel. hvirfill the crown of the head, G. wirbel whirl, crown of the head, D. wervel. See Whirl, v. t.] [1913 Webster]
A turning with rapidity or velocity; rapid rotation or circumvolution; quick gyration; rapid or confusing motion; as, the whirl of a top; the whirl of a wheel. "In no breathless whirl." --J. H. Newman. [1913 Webster] The rapid . . . whirl of things here below interrupt not the inviolable rest and calmness of the noble beings above. --South. [1913 Webster]
Anything that moves with a whirling motion. [1913 Webster] He saw Falmouth under gray, iron skies, and whirls of March dust. --Carlyle. [1913 Webster]
A revolving hook used in twisting, as the hooked spindle of a rope machine, to which the threads to be twisted are attached. [1913 Webster]
(Bot. & Zool.) A whorl. See Whorl. [1913 Webster]
Whirl \Whirl\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Whirled; p. pr. & vb. n. Whirling.] [OE. whirlen, probably from the Scand.; cf. Icel. & Sw. hvirfla, Dan. hvirvle; akin to D. wervelen, G. wirbeln, freq. of the verb seen in Icel. hverfa to turn. [root]16. See Wharf, and cf. Warble, Whorl.] [1913 Webster]
To turn round rapidly; to cause to rotate with velocity; to make to revolve. [1913 Webster] He whirls his sword around without delay. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]
To remove or carry quickly with, or as with, a revolving motion; to snatch; to harry. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels, That whirled the prophet up at Chebar flood. --Milton. [1913 Webster] The passionate heart of the poet is whirl'd into folly. --Tennyson. [1913 Webster]

Word Net



1 confused movement; "he was caught up in a whirl of work"; "a commotion of people fought for the exits" [syn: commotion]
2 the shape of something rotating rapidly [syn: swirl, vortex, convolution]
3 a usually brief attempt; "he took a crack at it"; "I gave it a whirl" [syn: crack, fling, go, pass, offer]
4 the act of rotating rapidly; "he gave the crank a spin"; "it broke off after much twisting" [syn: spin, twirl, twist, twisting]


1 turn in a twisting or spinning motion; "The leaves swirled in the autumn wind" [syn: twirl, swirl, twiddle]
2 cause to spin; "spin a coin" [syn: birl, spin, twirl]
3 flow in a circular current, of liquids [syn: eddy, purl, whirlpool, swirl]
4 revolve quickly and repeatedly around one's own axis; "The dervishes whirl around and around without getting dizzy" [syn: spin, spin around, reel, gyrate]
5 fly around; "The clothes tumbled in the dryer"; "rising smoke whirled in the air" [syn: tumble, whirl around]

Moby Thesaurus

Charybdis, Maelstrom, Sunday drive, ado, advance, agitation, airing, ascend, avert, back, back stream, back up, backflow, backwash, backwater, barrel, bother, botheration, brouhaha, budge, bullet, burst, bustle, centrifugate, centrifuge, change, change place, circle, circuit, circulation, circumvolution, cirrus, clatter, climb, coil, come about, commotion, contort, corkscrew, countercurrent, counterflow, counterflux, crack, crinkle, curl, curlicue, deflect, descend, disturbance, divert, dizzy round, drive, ebb, ebullience, ebullition, eddy, effervescence, embroilment, evolute, feery-fary, ferment, fermentation, fetch about, fidgetiness, fit, flap, fleet, flit, flow, flurry, fluster, flutter, flutteriness, fume, furore, fuss, fussiness, get over, go, go about, go around, go round, go sideways, gulf, gurge, gyrate, gyration, gyre, hassle, heel, helix, hubbub, hullabaloo, hurly-burly, hurry, hurry-scurry, intort, involute, joyride, kink, lift, mad round, maelstrom, meander, merry-go-round, moil, mount, move, move over, pell-mell, perturbation, pickup, pirouette, pivot, pivot about, plunge, pop, pother, progress, purl, put about, rat race, reel, refluence, reflux, regress, regurgitation, restlessness, retrogress, ride, ringlet, rise, roll, rotate, rotation, round, round of pleasure, ruction, ruffle, run, scallop, scramble, screw, scroll, serpentine, sheer, shift, shot, sink, slap, slink, snake, soar, spasm, speed, spin, spiral, spurt, stab, stagger, stave, stew, stir, storm, stream, subside, surge, sweat, swim, swing, swing round, swirl, swirling, swivel, tendril, the dizzy rounds, the rounds, to-do, travel, try, tumult, turbulence, turmoil, turn, turn about, turn around, turn round, turn tail, twine, twirl, twist, twist and turn, unquiet, uproar, veer, veer around, volte-face, volute, volution, vortex, wane, whack, wheel, wheel about, whip, whirligig, whirlpool, whirlwind, whish, whisk, whiz, whorl, wind, worm, wring, yeastiness



  • (UK): /wɜːl/, /w3:l/ or /ʍɜ:l/, /W3:l/ (in Scottish English and some English accents)
  • (US): , /wɝl/, /w3`l/ or , /ʍɝl/, /W3:`l/ (in Scottish English and some English accents)
Rhymes with: -ɜː(r)l



  1. To rotate, revolve, spin or turn rapidly.
    The dancer whirled across the stage, stopped, and whirled around to face the audience.
  2. To have a sensation of spinning or reeling.
    My head is whirling after all that drink.
  3. To make something or someone whirl.
    The dancer whirled his partner round on her toes.


  1. An act of whirling.
    She gave the top a whirl and it spun across the floor.
  2. Something that whirls.
  3. A confused tumult.
  4. A rapid series of events
    My life is one social whirl.
  5. Dizziness or giddiness.
  6. A brief experiment or trial.
    OK, let's give it a whirl.

Derived terms

Whirl may refer to:
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