pin·​wheel | \ ˈpin-ˌhwēl How to pronounce pinwheel (audio) , -ˌwēl\

Definition of pinwheel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a fireworks device in the form of a revolving wheel of colored fire
2 : a toy consisting of lightweight vanes that revolve at the end of a stick
3 : something (such as a galaxy) shaped like a pinwheel


pinwheeled; pinwheeling; pinwheels

Definition of pinwheel (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to move like a pinwheel

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Examples of pinwheel in a Sentence

Verb the kayaker had got sucked into the whirlpool, and his kayak was pinwheeling helplessly
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The bird then triggers an electric fan that blows a pinwheel, activating a motor that drives a boot. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Queens Museum Brings Rube Goldberg Machine to Life," 8 Oct. 2019 As my sight adjusted, shapes emerged: subtle whorls that resembled a pinwheel twirling through countless pinpricks of light. Erin E. Williams, Twin Cities, "A window to the universe is open in Oregon," 24 Sep. 2019 As my sight adjusted, shapes emerged: subtle whorls that resembled a pinwheel twirling through countless pinpricks of light. Erin E. Williams, Washington Post, "In the Central Oregon desert, an observatory with out-of-this-world views," 13 Sep. 2019 The slickly made video features male and female staffers walking and giggling in slow motion, blowing bubbles and pinwheels and, what Innisfree is better known for, drinking pints of beer. Ben Flanagan |, al, "Watch this Tuscaloosa bar’s latest hilarious spoof of sorority recruitment videos," 15 Aug. 2019 Decorate your body and try the giant rideable pinwheel. Lisa Herendeen, The Mercury News, "10 awesome Burning Man things to do on Day 4, Aug. 28," 5 Aug. 2019 Walk through a tunnel of pinwheels at the Vilas County Fairgrounds July 6. Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Pinwheels, fireworks, stadium concerts, and more to do around Wisconsin this week," 30 June 2019 That means most consumer-grade fireworks, from Roman candles and skyrockets to pinwheels and morning glories, are prohibited in the Buckeye State. Jessie Balmert,, "Can I shoot off fireworks in my backyard? Not legally in Ohio.," 30 June 2019 After another hour-long chill, the dough will be sliced into pinwheels, three-quarters of an inch as well as one-inch thick in order to compare the two and determine which thickness is best, and then they'll be chilled once more overnight. Dallas News, "'Best thing I've ever eaten': Hard-to-pronounce French pastry is heavy, buttery and crisp with sugar," 20 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The result is a vertiginous nausea that sends me pinwheeling toward the bathroom, though the men still breathe at a decibel level loud enough to permeate its heavy chestnut door. Barrett Swanson, Harper's magazine, "Men at Work," 28 Oct. 2019 Neo-Romantic melodies in the strings danced opposite pinwheeling exclamations in the woodwinds, and sharp ice replaced all the usual subtle sweetness of Elizabeth Rowe’s flute., "Guest conductor Dima Slobodeniouk leads the BSO to walk less traveled paths - The Boston Globe," 12 Oct. 2019 Behind them was a coal black foal, who pinwheeled his legs under the water, swimming like a seal after his mother. Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times, "Following in the Wake of a Storybook Pony," 8 July 2019 Law Enforcement on the Cheap Outside Kiana City Hall, ravens pinwheeled above the trees on a weekday afternoon in March. Kyle Hopkins, ProPublica, "ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network," 16 May 2019 One segment features a troupe dancing among the reflections of Johnson’s Glass House (1949), and the second films the same troupe emoting physically in the landscaped courtyards of Schindler’s pinwheeling wood-and-glass house on King’s Road (1922). Joseph Giovannini, New York Times, "In Three Famous Houses, Modern Living Unwinds," 28 June 2018 Raw and wintry Sunday moisture will continue to pinwheel down from the north and bring more clouds and the chance for a few snow showers. David Epstein,, "We’re about to have an unusually cold weekend," 23 Mar. 2018 Lobes of cold air are pinwheeling around a central point in the vortex, located over Hudson Bay. Angela Fritz, Washington Post, "Super Bowl LII will probably be the coldest on record. Good thing it’s in a dome.," 29 Jan. 2018 The hideaways, outfitted with cots, have been home to Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, key staffers and, in some cases, their families, since Hurricane Maria brutally pinwheeled through Puerto Rico on Sept. 20. Manuel Roig-franzia, Washington Post, "San Juan’s mayor says her life is inside out, but she’s working to right Puerto Rico while taking on Trump," 20 Oct. 2017

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

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First Known Use of pinwheel


1765, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1907, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for pinwheel

Time Traveler

The first known use of pinwheel was in 1765

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Statistics for pinwheel

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Pinwheel.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

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More Definitions for pinwheel


How to pronounce pinwheel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pinwheel

: a toy that has a set of thin blades that are arranged like a fan on the end of a stick and that spin like a wheel when air is blown on them
: a type of firework that spins like a wheel


pin·​wheel | \ ˈpin-ˌhwēl How to pronounce pinwheel (audio) , -ˌwēl\

Kids Definition of pinwheel

: a toy with fanlike blades at the end of a stick that spin in the wind

More from Merriam-Webster on pinwheel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pinwheel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pinwheel

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