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whirl definition


This page has 10 definitions of whirl in English. Whirl is a verb and noun. Examples of how to use whirl in a sentence are shown. Also define these 18 related words and terms: rotate, revolve, spin, turn, rapidly, sensation, reel, whirling, confused, tumult, rapid, series, event, dizziness, giddiness, brief, experiment, and trial.



From Middle English whirlen, contracted from earlier *whervelen, possibly from Old English *hweorflian, frequentative form of Old English hweorfan (to turn), itself from Proto-Germanic *hwerbaną (turn); or perhaps from Old Norse hvirfla (to go round, spin). Cognate with Dutch wervelen (to whirl, swirl), German wirbeln (to whirl, swirl), Danish hvirvle (to whirl), Swedish virvla (older spelling hvirfla), Albanian vorbull (a whirl). Related to whirr and wharve.


Rhymes: -ɜː(r)l


whirl (third-person singular simple present whirls, present participle whirling, simple past and past participle whirled)

  1. (intransitive) To rotate, revolve, spin or turn rapidly.
    The dancer whirled across the stage, stopped, and whirled around to face the audience.
    • 1697, “(please specify the book number)”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], OCLC 403869432:
      He whirls his sword around without delay.
    • 1900, L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
      The house whirled around two or three times and rose slowly through the air. Dorothy felt as if she were going up in a balloon.
    • Turn definition
      To make a non-linear physical movement.
      1. Of a body, person, etc, to move around an axis through itself. (1 of 34 turn definitions)
  2. (intransitive) To have a sensation of spinning or reeling.
    My head is whirling after all that drink.
    • Sensation definition
      A physical feeling or perception from something that comes into contact with the body; something sensed. (1 of 2 sensation definitions)
  3. (transitive) To make something or someone whirl.
    The dancer whirled his partner round on her toes.
  4. (transitive) To remove or carry quickly with, or as with, a revolving motion; to snatch.



whirl (plural whirls)

  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.
    • Confused definition
      simple past tense and past participle of confuse
  4. A rapid series of events.
    My life is one social whirl.
  5. Dizziness or giddiness.
    My mind was in a whirl.
    • Giddiness definition
      The state of being giddy.
  6. (informal) (usually following “give”) A brief experiment or trial.
    OK, let's give it a whirl.

Derived terms