Definition of maelstrom
1 : a powerful often violent whirlpool sucking in objects within a given radius tried to shoot the canoe across a stretch of treacherous maelstrom — Harper's
2 : something resembling a maelstrom in turbulence the maelstrom enveloping the country a maelstrom of emotions
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Examples of maelstrom in a Sentence
She was caught in a maelstrom of emotions.
The ship was drawn into the maelstrom.
Recent Examples of maelstrom from the Web
And what has happened in Princeton, perhaps, is a cautionary tale: If this town faced a maelstrom, what town wouldn’t?
Born in 1911 to an aristocratic Polish family in Lithuania, which was part of the Russian Empire at the time, Milosz was swept up in the maelstrom of the twentieth century from the beginning.
But these customs usually don’t garner much attention amid the daily political maelstroms that consume Capitol Hill.
One proof point is in the maelstrom of activity around diabetes, the most expensive disease in the world.
The maelstrom featurette isn’t the only extra on the DVD and Blu-ray releases.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'maelstrom'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Maelstrom comes from an early Dutch proper noun that literally meant "turning stream." The original Maelstrom is a channel that has dangerous tidal currents located off the northwest coast of Norway. The word became popularized in the general vocabulary of English in reference to a powerful whirlpool, or something akin to one, in the 19th century. This was partly due to its use by writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and Jules Verne (whose writing was widely translated from French) in stories exaggerating the tempestuousness of the Norwegian current and transforming it into a whirling vortex.
Origin and Etymology of maelstrom
obsolete Dutch (now maalstroom), from malen to grind + strom stream
First Known Use: 1659See Words from the same year
MAELSTROM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of maelstrom for English Language Learners
: a situation in which there are a lot of confused activities, emotions, etc.
: a dangerous area of water that moves very fast in a circle
Seen and Heard
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