\ 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

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Other Words from swirl


swirlingly \ ˈswər-​liŋ-​lē How to pronounce swirlingly (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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Questions about the firm’s accounting began to swirl in 2016. The Economist, "Short-selling Wirecard’s scandal shows the benefits of short-sellers," 24 June 2020 Forecasts project that the dust cloud — which stretches thousands of miles long — could swirl into the Gulf of Mexico and waft over Texas, Louisiana and elsewhere in the Southeast in the coming days. NBC News, "Coronavirus-stricken U.S. faces another problem: A massive dust cloud from Africa," 24 June 2020 Just run it under water for a minute, swirl it in the air, and tie it around your neck or head to feel instantly cooled down. Maggie O'neill, Health.com, "7 Cooling Neck Wraps to Help You Regulate Your Body Temperature," 19 June 2020 To serve, spoon immediately into a reusable plastic bag with one corner removed and swirl into a bowl, cup or cone. cleveland, "Try the real recipes for these famous restaurant foods," 15 June 2020 When photos of the troops on the street began to circulate, questions began to swirl as to why elite forces were needed, especially since the protests were mostly nonviolent. W.j. Hennigan, Time, "Standing Guard, Picking Up Trash And Getting Booted From a Hotel. Inside A Special Forces Unit’s Controversial Deployment to DC," 12 June 2020 Tendrils of fog swirl off the water like cigar smoke. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, "Ozark Mountain Fishing Adventure," 9 June 2020 Eventually, the street empties out, but the haze of tear gas continues to swirl under the lights. Popular Science, "Tear gas during COVID-19 is a public health disaster," 8 June 2020 With uncertainty still swirling around whether the virus might rebound when borders open, some countries are focusing instead on domestic tourism. NBC News, "Coronavirus: Countries try 'travel bubbles' to save post-lockdown tourist season," 25 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Get a cast to that surface swirl quickly and a strike is almost guaranteed. Gerald Almy, Field & Stream, "The 7 Best Lures for Smallmouth Bass in Rivers," 18 June 2020 In the swirl of negativity surrounding the NBA’s 22-team project, the league would love for people to start talking basketball. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Beyond the kneeling: NBA voices matter most," 5 June 2020 The developments in Richmond recall the swirl of events that took place in another Virginia city in 2017, when the City Council in Charlottesville debated whether to remove a Lee statue. NBC News, "Virginia has the most Confederate memorials in the country, but that might change," 4 June 2020 Stir or swirl, and then allow the smoke to infuse for a few minutes. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "Father’s Day deals offer savings on grills, accessories, meat," 3 June 2020 On a hot day, try a swirl of frozen orange-juice concentrate for a unique citrus tang. Popular Science, "Yogurt makers to improve your snack time and microbiome," 19 May 2020 Colombia is home to a swirl of armed groups, many of which are involved in drug production and trafficking. Azam Ahmed, BostonGlobe.com, "Murder rates were staggering. The virus has brought some quiet, for now.," 11 Apr. 2020 Blackberries and seared pork fat aromas fill the air with each swirl of the glass. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Escape to the Andes for high elevation pinot noir," 25 Mar. 2020 Skinner's own research in animals suggests changes to the epigenome, a swirl of biological factors that affect how genes are expressed, can be passed down through multiple generations. Andrew Curry, Science | AAAS, "Parents’ emotional trauma may change their children’s biology. Studies in mice show how," 18 July 2019

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.

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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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for swirl

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swirl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swirl. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for swirl


How to pronounce swirl (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of swirl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move in circles or to cause (something) to move in circles



English Language Learners Definition of swirl (Entry 2 of 2)

: a twisting or swirling movement, form, or object
: a state of busy movement or activity


\ 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on swirl

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swirl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swirl

Spanish Central: Translation of 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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