\ ˈswər(-ə)l How to pronounce swirl (audio) \
swirled; swirling; swirls

Definition of swirl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to move with an eddying or whirling motion swirling water
b : to pass in whirling confusion
2 : to have a twist or convolution

transitive verb

: to cause to swirl swirled her drink



Definition of swirl (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a whirling mass or motion : eddy
b : whirling confusion a swirl of events
2 : a twisting shape, mark, or pattern
3 : an act or instance of swirling

Other Words from swirl


swirlingly \ ˈswər-​liŋ-​lē How to pronounce swirl (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for swirl

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of swirl in a Sentence

Verb The water swirled around the drain. kept swirling her lemonade until I thought the sound of clinking ice would drive me insane Noun A swirl of smoke rose from the chimney. He painted swirls of color on the canvas. ice cream with chocolate swirls
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As rumors about Tyra Banks hosting or not hosting Dancing With the Stars in the fall of 2022 continue to swirl, former Mirrorball winner and cohost of the series from 2010-2013 Brooke Burke is sharing her opinions about the whole thing. Rebecca Norris, Good Housekeeping, 30 Apr. 2022 As compilations of claymation, crayon drawings, and paper collages all swirl together. Marisa Whitaker, SPIN, 19 Apr. 2022 Vicky Harris watched as the two appeared to swirl in the water, arms flailing and unable to stay above the surface, Tymeisha said. Alexis Stevens, ajc, 14 Apr. 2022 Like the state legislative districts, legal questions swirl around the boundaries of the congressional districts. Scott Wartman, The Enquirer, 5 Apr. 2022 And until April 18 and a ruling by AMPAS's investigating body is finally announced, questions will swirl, likely after then as well. Joshua Rothkopf, EW.com, 5 Apr. 2022 Gingerly swirl the brush on a paper towel which will absorb the cleanser, taking the dirt with it. ELLE, 31 Mar. 2022 The shards will swirl around the red planet, settling into a new, beautiful feature. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, 28 Mar. 2022 To use, simply swirl your brushes around the sponge to loosen the powder makeup stuck to them, and just like that your brushes are clean. Kate Sullivan, Kristi Kellogg, Allure, 14 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The confusing swirl of analysis makes truth impossible to pinpoint and any public responsibility harder to enforce. Alyona Minkovski, The New Republic, 28 Apr. 2022 Even in chaste scenes, Acosta’s tenor and Hadley’s baritone swirl within each other in an aural reflection of sensual passion. Bill Hirschman, Sun Sentinel, 25 Apr. 2022 Add ice to the glass, top with a sparkling beverage, and give one last swirl. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, 25 Apr. 2022 With her edit, Giobbi slims down the chunkiness of the original, adding an exhilarating swirl of strings and funky piano flourishes for an altogether joyous edit. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 8 Apr. 2022 Amid the troubling swirl of doubt, this could turn out to be a beautiful thing. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 Mar. 2022 Chappelle and his spokespeople have been quiet amid the swirl of controversy. BostonGlobe.com, 21 Oct. 2021 But, amid a swirl of new regulations and clampdowns on companies like Ant Financial and Didi, how committed is Beijing to promoting market discipline? Eswar Prasad, Fortune, 6 Oct. 2021 The announcement came amid a swirl of controversy, marked by several FDA advisers resigning and Congress investigating the FDA’s approval process, which heavily involved Biogen, the drug’s manufacturer. John N. Mafi And Catherine Sarkisian, STAT, 9 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of swirl


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for swirl


Middle English

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Time Traveler for swirl

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The first known use of swirl was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Swirl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swirl. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for swirl


\ ˈswərl How to pronounce swirl (audio) \
swirled; swirling

Kids Definition of swirl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move with a spinning or twisting motion



Kids Definition of swirl (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a spinning mass or motion : eddy a swirl of water
2 : busy movement or activity She got caught up in the swirl of events.
3 : a twisting shape or mark The ice cream has chocolate swirls.

More from Merriam-Webster on swirl

Nglish: Translation of swirl for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swirl for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about swirl


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