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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

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
Melon Herb Chiller: a lemon pinwheel and watermelon mint base poured over ice to add a kick to traditional lemonade. Anthony Robledo, USA TODAY, 3 Apr. 2024 In the picture, the duo are covered in Holi powder and holding up a colorful pinwheel. Jordan Greene, Peoplemag, 26 Mar. 2024 There is less emphasis on painting discrete narratives, more on building up autonomous tableaux from miscellaneous ingredients, many of them human pinwheels made up of monsters, masks, sheep, birds and bats, or compositions alluding to the Old Masters. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 5 Dec. 2023 Get instructions for the pretty pieced quilt. 08 Star-Pattern Quilt Country-style pinwheels create this cozy quilted throw. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 2 Aug. 2023 Once the stacks are rolled up into logs, the pinwheels are cut and placed in a dish lined with San Marzano tomato sauce. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 11 Dec. 2023 Neus Coronado, one of three full-time slicers García employs, can produce a tidy pinwheel of uniform, nearly paper-thin slices in just a few minutes. Bonnie Berkowitz, Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2024 The cheese and nuts are rolled into a pinwheel cake that’s steamed and seared before service. Jenn Harris, Los Angeles Times, 20 Nov. 2023 Like the plastic blades curled around a pinwheel axle, four separate wings fan off from a central great room. Adriane Quinlan, Curbed, 22 Aug. 2023
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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pinwheel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 25 May. 2024.

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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