Definitions

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

  • n. A whirlwind.
  • n. A vortex, as of a whirlwind or whirlpool.
  • n. A skyrocket that has a spiral flight.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An ornamental firework that turns round in the air so as to form a scroll of fire.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An ornamental firework which turns round, when in the air, so as to form a scroll of fire.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The point near the vertex around which the hair grows radially in different directions.
  • n. An ornamental firework which turns round when in the air so as to present the appearance of a scroll or a spiral column of fire.

Etymologies

Middle English turbilloun, from Old French torbeillon, ultimately from Latin turbō, from Greek turbē, noise, confusion; see turbid.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
See tourbillon. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Left: Concord Quantum Gravity The craziest watch of the day: a tourbillion that rotates both vertically and horizontally, a power reserve that uses liquid expanding and contracting to indicate levels, and a suspension bridge linking all of it together.

    Times Are a-Changing: Watches From Baselworld 2009

  • No, it isn't a long lost episode of Star Trek, but Ned Kahn's “tourbillion” installation art, a collaboration with architect Uwe Bruckner, for the Duales Systems Pavilion at Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany.

    Archive 2007-01-01

  • We were approached by various collectors from the states; they asked us if we would make a tourbillion for them.

    Forbes.com: News

  • The handset is activated when opened, and uses tourbillion escapement mechanism for its built-in analogue clock.

    Moneycontrol Top Headlines

  • Baselworld 2010 Swiss Geneva スイス tourbillon tourbillion

    WN.com - Articles related to Australia mining firm strikes gold in RP

  • Combining the iconic chain and fusée, drums and vertical tourbillion from the Winch timepiece with a revolutionary new technique, the Sol Invictus is another mechanical wonder for your wrist.

    Luxurylaunches.com

  • The second time it opens up and shows the one-minute tourbillion and power reserve indicator.

    Vagablond

  • Celsius X VI II Remontage Papillon Micro mechanics meets high-tech in a stunningly stylish new mobile phone incorporating a tourbillion watch design

    Cool Hunting

  • Celsius X VI II's first product, an impressive merging of a mobile phone with a tourbillion watch that integrates a patented rewinding mechanism hidden within its hinge.

    Cool Hunting

  • Inspired by tourbillion watches-invented in the late 18th century to offset the supposed effects of gravity on accuracy by rotating a full 360º within a cage-Celsius 'love for mechanical triumphs of centuries past permeates the many components of the the Papillon.

    Cool Hunting

Comments

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  • Yes, OED2 gives tourbillon from French in the etymology and as an alternate spelling, but marked as foreign. It also gives two other meanings: "a kind of firework which spins as it rises, describing a spiral" and "a carriage in which the escapement of a watch is fitted so that it revolves round the fourth wheel", the second using the spelling tourbillon in the only quotation.

    December 17, 2007

  • I'm guessing related is tourbillon from FRA, which denotes a kind of intricate escapement for timepieces which counters the effects of gravity.

    December 17, 2007

  • A whirlwind, vortex, eddy or whirlpool.

    December 17, 2007