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

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 That spinning motion, at speeds of hundreds of kilometers a second, may cause matter in the disk to take on a distinctive spiral shape, like a cosmic pinwheel. National Geographic, "," 17 Apr. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

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

19 Sep 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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