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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Synonyms for pinwheel

Synonyms: Verb

gyrate, pirouette, revolve, roll, rotate, spin, turn, twirl, wheel, whirl

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Examples of pinwheel in a Sentence


the kayaker had got sucked into the whirlpool, and his kayak was pinwheeling helplessly

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Diana Smith, Arizona director of local chapters for American Institute of Architects, said her initial thought was the buildings were shaped like pinwheels. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "A bird's-eye view of these Glendale medical offices reveal resemblance to swastikas," 4 June 2019 Among this year’s highlights: Cove Landing, a New York gallery, is offering an 1825 Anglo-Indian table with a pinwheel of inlaid woods for roughly $35,000. Kelly Crow, WSJ, "New York Art Events Showcase Americana," 16 Jan. 2019 The muffled shuffling of feet as the crowd pinwheels around the casket. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "An empty US Capitol after McCain’s death is sobering reminder that the clock is ticking," 28 Aug. 2018 Teddy bears, pinwheels, a banner and other items that were taken from the makeshift memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in March found a new home Monday at Florida Atlantic University. Rafael Olmeda,, "Items swiped from Stoneman Douglas memorial moved to FAU," 18 June 2018 In Parkland, Stoneman Douglas students rose before sunrise Wednesday to place hundreds of pinwheels around campus to mark the anniversary. Emanuella Grinberg, CNN, "What's next for the movement against gun violence after National Walkout Day," 15 Mar. 2018 You will be riveted by a baby giggling over a spinning pinwheel. Karla Peterson,, "On the Fourth of July, count your San Diego blessings," 2 July 2018 My butcher tenderizes flank steak and then rolls it into pinwheels for attractive individual serving portions with a pleasant chewy flavor. Jeanmarie Brownson, charlotteobserver, "Control the heat to grill the perfect steak," 26 June 2018 My butcher tenderizes flank steak and then rolls it into pinwheels for attractive individual serving portions with a pleasant chewy flavor. Jeanmarie Brownson, charlotteobserver, "Control the heat to grill the perfect steak," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Rooms pinwheel off this central opening, each one timbered, clad, coffered or paneled in some local wood and detailed with the meticulous craft of a Japanese tea house, a far cry from modernism’s utilitarian open plan. Julie V. Iovine, WSJ, "‘Quest for Beauty: The Architecture, Landscapes, and Collections of John Yeon’ Review: The Architectural Prince of Portland," 4 July 2017 However, one of the director's signature visuals, involving lines and images pinwheeling with a whooshing sound, can't help but evoke commercial advertisements in which some substance returns to a bottle. Alissa Simon,, "'The Girl Without Hands' review: A Grimm fairy tale rendered in watercolor," 10 Aug. 2017 Dixon would spin and hit the top of the wall on his side, burst momentarily into flames, then pinwheel down the track with his car splintering around him before coming to a stop. Elton Alexander,, "Indy 500: Takuma Sato win shows greatest spectacle in racing has become most fickle (photos, video)," 29 May 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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Dictionary Entries near pinwheel

pin vise





pin wire


Statistics for pinwheel

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for pinwheel

The first known use of pinwheel was in 1765

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More Definitions for pinwheel



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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pinwheel

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Comments on pinwheel

What made you want to look up pinwheel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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