\ 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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Deer will walk in from unexpected directions, and thermals will swirl. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, "10 Lessons from the 2020 Deer Season," 5 Jan. 2021 Texas A&M on Saturday 34-13, as speculation about the coach’s future continues to swirl. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "Jeremy Pruitt on returning as Tennessee coach: ‘Yeah, I think absolutely’," 19 Dec. 2020 In the midst of a disappointing season, some questions had already started to swirl about the potential future of McCarthy and his staff. Joey Hayden, Dallas News, "Stephen Jones: Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy will return in 2021," 14 Dec. 2020 After the Rockets were sent home from the playoffs early again, rumors started to swirl that the two weren't happy in Houston and both wanted out. Kristie Rieken, Chron, "Rockets trade Russell Westbrook for John Wall and a pick," 2 Dec. 2020 Abdullah’s comments come as rumors swirl that Biden will pick Garcetti to serve in his Cabinet, prompting large and repeated protests. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, "Black Lives Matter leader: Biden 'capitalized on our efforts to defund the police'," 29 Nov. 2020 During Sunday’s team meeting, UTSA coach Jeff Traylor braced the Roadrunners for the speculation sure to swirl around the program this week. Greg Luca, ExpressNews.com, "UTSA keeps focus on matchup against North Texas as schedule, Conference USA standings remain unsettled," 25 Nov. 2020 Earlier this month, cheating rumors started to swirl after Gleb and his wife of 14 years, Elena Samodanova, announced their split on Instagram. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Chrishell Stause Denies 'Dancing With the Stars' Cheating Scandal as Gleb Savchenko and Wife Split," 17 Nov. 2020 But this should be another sound ground game for Cleveland while the passing game can finally find a groove, assuming 40 mph winds don’t swirl at FirstEnergy Stadium for the third straight game. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "Cleveland Browns vs. Eagles preview: Previewing Philadelphia and how they match up," 16 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The researchers had to tally everything from giant species like the blue whale all the way down to the microbes that blanket the land and swirl in the oceans. Matt Simon, Wired, "All the Stuff Humans Make Now Outweighs Earth’s Organisms," 15 Dec. 2020 Divide between two large soup bowls and swirl cream onto the soup. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Warm up with this quick butternut squash soup," 2 Dec. 2020 If the flavor is concentrated and delicious, swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and pour it over the mussels. Washington Post, "Mussels are simple to prepare, and add tasty drama to the table," 29 Oct. 2020 In the swirl of creditors, one young man stood out. Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, "The legal titan and the ‘Real Housewife’: The rise and fall of Tom Girardi and Erika Jayne," 17 Dec. 2020 Then, Irina Ganache, one of the Drag Taste co-founders, joined in a swirl of tulle, feathers, and long blonde locks. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "My Favorite Airbnb Experience: A Sangria-Making Class with Lisbon’s Most Fabulous Drag Queens," 11 Dec. 2020 The rainbow bagels — which are plain but come in a swirl of colors that change weekly — are bound to be popular. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, "New York-style bagel shop is opening in Richardson, selling eye-catching rainbow bagels," 30 Nov. 2020 And this pretty pearl of a day is lending itself to those — ideas, spinning me on in a breezy swirl into autumn and summer’s passing. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: The election and a peaceful transfer of power, city planning, summer's end," 24 Sep. 2020 Dingess, an ordained minister of 19 years, fears for his and his family’s safety for speaking out in what has become a flashpoint in the political swirl around Portland’s ongoing protests, according to his lawyers. oregonlive, "Witness says officers never gave commands before firing at Michael Reinoehl outside WA apartment," 9 Sep. 2020

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

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Swirl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swirl. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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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