Definitions

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

  • intransitive v. To revolve rapidly about a center or an axis. See Synonyms at turn.
  • intransitive v. To rotate or spin rapidly: The dancer whirled across the stage.
  • intransitive v. To turn rapidly, changing direction; wheel: She whirled around to face him.
  • intransitive v. To have the sensation of spinning; reel: My head is whirling with data.
  • intransitive v. To move circularly and rapidly in varied, random directions: The wind whirled across the steppes.
  • transitive v. To cause to rotate or turn rapidly: whirl a baton.
  • transitive v. To move or drive in a circular or curving course.
  • transitive v. To drive at high speed: whirled the motorcycle around the corner.
  • transitive v. Obsolete To hurl.
  • n. The act of rotating or revolving rapidly.
  • n. Something, such as a cloud of dust, that whirls or is whirled.
  • n. A state of confusion; tumult.
  • n. A swift succession or round of events: the social whirl.
  • n. A state of mental confusion or giddiness; dizziness: My head is in a whirl.
  • n. Informal A short trip or ride.
  • n. Informal A brief or experimental try: Let's give the plan a whirl.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To rotate, revolve, spin or turn rapidly.
  • v. To have a sensation of spinning or reeling.
  • v. To make something or someone whirl.
  • n. An act of whirling.
  • n. Something that whirls.
  • n. A confused tumult.
  • n. A rapid series of events
  • n. Dizziness or giddiness.
  • n. A brief experiment or trial.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. In angling, a spoon-bait.
  • n. The whorl of a spindle.
  • n. A reel or hook used in rope-making for twisting strands of hemp or gut.
  • n. A rope-winch.
  • n. In botany and conchology See whorl.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Something that whirls, or moves with a rapid circling motion; the circling eddy of a whirlpool, a whirlwind, or the like.

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

  • v. turn in a twisting or spinning motion
  • n. the act of rotating rapidly
  • v. fly around
  • v. flow in a circular current, of liquids
  • v. revolve quickly and repeatedly around one's own axis
  • n. a usually brief attempt
  • n. confused movement
  • n. the shape of something rotating rapidly
  • v. cause to spin

Etymologies

Middle English whirlen, probably from Old Norse hvirfla.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old Norse: hvirfla ("to go round, spin"). Cognate to Albanian vorbull ("a whirl"). Related to whirr. (Wiktionary)

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