Definitions

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

  • n. A rapidly rotating, generally vertical column of air, such as a tornado, dust devil, or waterspout.
  • n. A tumultuous, confused rush.
  • n. A destructive force or thing.
  • adj. Tumultuous or rapid: a whirlwind political campaign.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A violent windstorm of limited extent, as the tornado, characterized by an inward spiral motion of the air with an upward current in the center; a vortex of air. It usually has a rapid progressive motion.
  • n. A person or body of objects or events sweeping violently onward.
  • adj. Rapid and minimal: a whirlwind tour, a whirlwind guide.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A violent windstorm of limited extent, as the tornado, characterized by an inward spiral motion of the air with an upward current in the center; a vortex of air. It usually has a rapid progressive motion.
  • n. Fig.: A body of objects sweeping violently onward.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A wind moving in a circumscribed circularpath; amass of air, of which the height is generally very great in comparison with its width, rotating rapidly round a vertical or slightly inclined axis, this axis having at the same time a progressive motion over the surface of the land or Sea.
  • n. Figuratively, any wild circling rush resembling a whirlwind.

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

  • n. a more or less vertical column of air whirling around itself as it moves over the surface of the Earth

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • Actually, the term whirlwind is a bit under the mark.

    Robyn Berkley: Moving In, Moving Out, Moving In

  • It's got to be what they call a whirlwind campaign or go without.

    If Winter Comes

  • 'Yes,' said Margaret, rather sadly, remembering the never-ending commotion about trifles that had been going on for more than a month past: 'I wonder if a marriage must always be preceded by what you call a whirlwind, or whether in some cases there might not rather be a calm and peaceful time just before it.'

    North and South

  • The man behind all this, Michael de Souza, 57 - unmistakeable in a Rastamouse-esque tam, which contains hair he has not cut for 30 years - is in the middle of what he describes as a whirlwind.

    Evening Standard - Home

  • Bannon used interviews with natives and local newsmakers to place the viewer in what he calls the "whirlwind" that was Palin's time as governor.

    NPR Topics: News

  • She addresses the feelings that result when the wedding invitations stop coming and the whirlwind is over.

    All Things Girl » All Things Girl » Blog Archive » Book Talk: She’s Gone Bridal by Liz Razin

  • Part of the force propelling that whirlwind is of course the backlash against the fragmentation of our culture and heritage which is occurring under the pressure of rapid mass migration and multiculturalism.

    Fuzzy Fidelity

  • Alatheus and Saphrax, whose return was anxiously expected by the general of the Goths, descended like a whirlwind from the hills, swept across the plain, and added new terrors to the tumultuous, but irresistible charge of the Barbarian host.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • It has been a 30-hour whirlwind, which is expected when you set your sights on the most intriguing, eccentric coach in college football.

    After Ralph Friedgen, Maryland eyes Mike Leach

  • I'll be talking to a man former president Bill Clinton describes as a whirlwind of ideas and action.

    CNN Transcript Mar 7, 2009

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