\ ˈjī(-ə)r How to pronounce gyre (audio) \

Definition of gyre

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a circular or spiral motion or form especially : a giant circular oceanic surface current


gyred; gyring

Definition of gyre (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to move in a circle or spiral

Other Words from gyre


gyral \ ˈjī-​rəl How to pronounce gyre (audio) \ adjective

Did you know?

William Butler Yeats opens his 1920 poem, "The Second Coming," with the following lines: "Turning and turning in the widening gyre / The falcon cannot hear the falconer; / Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; / Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…." Often found in poetic or literary contexts as an alternative to the more familiar circle or spiral, gyre comes via the Latin gyrus from the Greek gyros, meaning "ring" or "circle." Gyre is also frequently encountered as an oceanographic term that refers to vast circular systems of ocean currents, such as the North Atlantic Gyre, a system of currents circling clockwise between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Gyre is also sometimes used of more localized vortices, such as those produced by whirlpools or tornadoes.

Examples of gyre in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In such a widening gyre, Mounk’s calm mix of storytelling, political theory and social psychology exegesis, peppered with some charming insights, has a comforting seriousness. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 The Weddell Sea is notoriously icy, a function of a rotating current, or gyre, that keeps much of the pack ice within the sea for years. New York Times, 12 Apr. 2022 Running these pumps for 10 hours at a stretch has revealed nylon fibers and other microplastics distributed throughout the water column below the South Atlantic subtropical gyre. New York Times, 3 Apr. 2022 The film operates as a whirling, paradoxical gyre: sprawling and tightly coiled; hallucinatory and clearly legible; shockingly subversive and reassuringly old-school. Washington Post, 22 Dec. 2021 There are five gyres in the ocean — one in the Indian, two in the Atlantic and two in the Pacific — and each gyre contains garbage patches of different sizes. Li Cohen, CBS News, 16 Oct. 2021 Companies should abstain from contributing to the gyre of empty corporate-speak and ‘walk the talk’ of fair remuneration of their workers—and if not for the welfare of workers, then for their bottom line. Neema Iyer, Quartz, 31 Aug. 2021 The Loop Current is a key component of a large gyre, or circular current, rotating clockwise in the North Atlantic Ocean. Nick Shay, Quartz, 2 Sep. 2021 The Loop Current is a key component of a large gyre, a circular current, rotating clockwise in the North Atlantic Ocean. Nick Shay, The Conversation, 31 Aug. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gyre.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of gyre


1566, in the meaning defined above


1593, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gyre


Latin gyrus, from Greek gyros


Late Latin gyrare, from Latin gyrus

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Cite this Entry

“Gyre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on gyre

Britannica English: Translation of gyre for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about gyre


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