Definitions

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

  • v. Chiefly British Variant of whir.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To move or vibrate (something) with a buzzing sound.
  • v. To make a sibilant buzzing or droning sound.
  • v. To cause (something) to make such a sound.
  • n. A sibilant buzz or vibration; the sound of something in rapid motion.
  • n. A bustle of noise and excitement.

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

  • v. make a vibrant sound, as of some birds
  • v. make a soft swishing sound
  • n. sound of something in rapid motion

Etymologies

Perhaps from Old Norse hvirfla ("to whirl, spread"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I need to be able to putter and poke at things and get up and wander around and let my brain whirr on the hamster wheel rather than attempting to be disciplined and productive.

    i can make it longer if you like the style

  • I can see distinctly the little stone cottages in the narrow wynds off South Street, which I was wont to visit; I can recall the whirr and rattle of the loom “ben the house,” and picture to myself the grave elderly man who on my entrance would rise from the rickety machine in front of which he was seated, and, after refreshing himself with a pinch of snuff, adjust his horn-rimmed spectacles and stare, with a seriousness which to me was somewhat disquieting, at the little English boy who had found his way into his presence.

    Memoirs of Sir Wemyss Reid 1842-1885

  • I can see distinctly the little stone cottages in the narrow wynds off South Street, which I was wont to visit; I can recall the whirr and rattle of the loom "ben the house," and picture to myself the grave elderly man who on my entrance would rise from the rickety machine in front of which he was seated, and, after refreshing himself with a pinch of snuff, adjust his horn-rimmed spectacles and stare, with a seriousness which to me was somewhat disquieting, at the little English boy who had found his way into his presence.

    Memoirs of Sir Wemyss Reid 1842-1885

  • Against that faint but continuous background were other intermittent noises: the occasional "whirr" of hidden motors carrying out some mysterious and auto - matic task, the "tick," every thirty seconds precisely, of the electric clock, and sometimes the sound of water racing through the pressurised plumbing system.

    The Sands of Mars

  • Then it struck Desmond that the line was dead: his ear detected none of that busy whirr which is heard in the telephone when one is waiting to get a number.

    Okewood of the Secret Service

  • It was not unlike the "whirr" of machinery, save that it rose and fell in distinct cadences, and occasionally -- as if by preconcerted arrangement on the part of every individual insect in the district -- stopped altogether for a few moments.

    The Congo Rovers A Story of the Slave Squadron

  • It was not unlike the "whirr" made by a thrashing-machine -- which any one must have heard who has travelled through an agricultural district.

    The Plant Hunters Adventures Among the Himalaya Mountains

  • First of all was heard a distant rumbling, with the "whirr" of the iron rope far back in the darkness.

    The Mines and its Wonders

  • "whirr," the sound growing fainter and fainter till it finally ceases; but if it should run down with the notched side downward, the friction of the point against the table will reduce this final whirr to half its ordinary length, and the coin will finally go down with a sort of

    Healthful Sports for Boys

  • "whirr" went the chains, the heavy weight sank to the ground, and the clock stopped; and the poor mother rushed out of the house calling for her child.

    Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen

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Comments

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  • It went "zip" when it moved and "bop" when it stopped
    And "whirr" when it stood still –
    I never knew just what it was and I guess I never will.
    – Tom Paxton, "The Marvelous Toy"

    December 12, 2007

  • also whir.

    December 12, 2007