from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To rotate rapidly about a center or an axis; spin.
  • intransitive verb To move while rotating or turning about: synonym: turn.
  • intransitive verb To turn rapidly, changing direction; wheel.
  • intransitive verb To have the sensation of spinning; reel.
  • intransitive verb To cause to rotate or turn rapidly.
  • intransitive verb To cause to move with a spinning motion.
  • intransitive verb To drive at high speed.
  • intransitive verb Obsolete To hurl.
  • noun The act of rotating or revolving rapidly.
  • noun Something, such as a cloud of dust, that whirls or is whirled.
  • noun A state of confusion; a tumult.
  • noun A swift succession or round of events.
  • noun A state of mental confusion or giddiness; dizziness.
  • noun Informal A short trip or ride.
  • noun Informal A brief or experimental try.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In angling, a spoon-bait.
  • To swing or turn rapidly round; rotate, or cause to revolve rapidly.
  • To cast with a twirling or twisting motion; throw with a rapid whirl.
  • To carry swiftly away with or as if with a revolving or wheeling motion.
  • Synonyms To twirl, spin, revolve, rotate.
  • To turn rapidly; move round with velocity; revolve or rotate swiftly.
  • To pass or move with a rapid whirling motion, or as if on wheels.
  • noun The whorl of a spindle.
  • noun A reel or hook used in rope-making for twisting strands of hemp or gut.
  • noun A rope-winch.
  • noun In botany and conchology See whorl.
  • noun A rapid circling motion or movement, as that of a revolving body; rapid rotation, gyration, or circumvolution: literally and figuratively: as, the whirl of a top or of a wheel; the whirls of fancy.
  • noun Something that whirls, or moves with a rapid circling motion; the circling eddy of a whirlpool, a whirlwind, or the like.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To turn round rapidly; to cause to rotate with velocity; to make to revolve.
  • transitive verb To remove or carry quickly with, or as with, a revolving motion; to snatch; to harry.
  • noun A turning with rapidity or velocity; rapid rotation or circumvolution; quick gyration; rapid or confusing motion.
  • noun Anything that moves with a whirling motion.
  • noun A revolving hook used in twisting, as the hooked spindle of a rope machine, to which the threads to be twisted are attached.
  • noun (Bot. & Zoöl.) A whorl. See Whorl.
  • intransitive verb To be turned round rapidly; to move round with velocity; to revolve or rotate with great speed; to gyrate.
  • intransitive verb To move hastily or swiftly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To rotate, revolve, spin or turn rapidly.
  • verb intransitive To have a sensation of spinning or reeling.
  • verb transitive To make something or someone whirl.
  • noun An act of whirling.
  • noun Something that whirls.
  • noun A confused tumult.
  • noun A rapid series of events
  • noun Dizziness or giddiness.
  • noun usually following “give” A brief experiment or trial.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb turn in a twisting or spinning motion
  • noun the act of rotating rapidly
  • verb fly around
  • verb flow in a circular current, of liquids
  • verb revolve quickly and repeatedly around one's own axis


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English whirlen, probably from Old Norse hvirfla.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old Norse: hvirfla ("to go round, spin"). Cognate to Albanian vorbull ("a whirl"). Related to whirr.


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  • This word is really fun to say if you say it with an air and make sure to get the H sound in there.

    December 2, 2006

  • Whirl, wisp, whittle while you work.

    January 19, 2007

  • curligirli0 said:

    Whirl, wisp, whittle while you work.

    October 29, 2008

  • "In offering me this greeting, she executed around me, holding me by the hand, a graceful pirouette, by the whirl of which I felt myself swept away."

    --Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright, p 51 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    February 2, 2009