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pin·​wheel ˈpin-ˌ(h)wēl How to pronounce pinwheel (audio)
: a fireworks device in the form of a revolving wheel of colored fire
: a toy consisting of lightweight vanes that revolve at the end of a stick
: something (such as a galaxy) shaped like a pinwheel


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pinwheeled; pinwheeling; pinwheels

intransitive verb

: to move like a pinwheel

Example Sentences

Verb the kayaker had got sucked into the whirlpool, and his kayak was pinwheeling helplessly
Recent Examples on the Web
Carve turkey in thick slices, crosswise, to reveal pinwheel pattern. Cathy Whims, WSJ, 3 Nov. 2022 At this early stage, the two galactic centers are currently 20,000 light-years apart and each galaxy has maintained its pinwheel shape. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 10 Aug. 2022 Another girl, who was holding a pinwheel, began jumping up and down, her beaded braids bouncing in the air. The Courier-Journal, 27 July 2022 Its unique pinwheel design slices and dices to your heart's (and tastebuds') desire. Bianca Rodriguez, Good Housekeeping, 6 July 2022 On Wednesday afternoon, the frontyard was decorated with a small American flag and a red, white and blue pinwheel, which spun in the breeze. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2022 Their semi-cubicle workstations are are arranged in a pinwheel formation in the middle of a large, otherwise empty room, devoid of decoration. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 17 Feb. 2022 At the center of this clever pinwheel of a story—Moore co-wrote the script with Johnathan McClain—is Rylance, whose economy of motion and emotion is a marvel. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 18 Mar. 2022 The tonkotsu ingredients were expertly layered together atop the broth in the oversized popcorn tub of a bowl with an egg in the center of the colorful pinwheel. Andi Berlin, The Arizona Republic, 18 Feb. 2022
Some of the outer rain bands and a few storms from Beta will pinwheel into the area from the east and southeast. Dallas News, 20 Sep. 2020 Observations of pinwheeling galaxies suggested that scaffolds of invisible matter held their stars together, while a repulsive form of energy drove galaxies apart. Quanta Magazine, 28 Jan. 2020 The man in the white vest pinwheeled his arms, ushering volunteers through the pick-up line outside the Salvation Army Community Center on Fourth Street with military precision. Lizzie Johnson,, 25 Dec. 2019 Some upper-level energy may move through the region, pinwheeling from the New England storm. Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2019 According to the space agency, IC 2051 is a spiral galaxy, noticeable in its whirling, pinwheeling arms and a bar of stars cutting through its center. Fox News, 23 Dec. 2019 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, 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., 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, 8 July 2019 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use


1765, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1907, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pinwheel was in 1765

Dictionary Entries Near pinwheel

Cite this Entry

“Pinwheel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



: a fireworks device in the form of a spinning wheel of colored fire
: a toy made of fanlike blades that spin in the wind at the end of a stick
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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