\ 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 Sawyer hopes future simulations will prove that photon bursts also occur in more realistic models of intense gravitational events, where many gravitons swirl in intricate patterns. Charlie Wood, Scientific American, "Simulation Shows Potential for Glowing Gravitons," 1 July 2020 On April 18, O’Neal took to Twitter again to address the rumors that continued to swirl regarding his transfer. Hannah Underwood, Dallas News, "10 things to know about Texas A&M S Leon O’Neal Jr., including the origin of his #WakeEmUp social media campaign," 1 July 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Seven trees sprout on a hillside near the southern tip of South America, above the treacherous swirl of spray where the Pacific Ocean meets the Atlantic. Craig Welch, National Geographic, "The tree at the bottom of the world—and the wind-blasted trek to find it," 7 July 2020 Blackberry fruit fills the air with every swirl of the glass, along with a meaty/smoky scent reminiscent of dripping pork fat exploding on campfire coals. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "3 Oregon wines making a difference during tough times," 7 July 2020 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

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

22 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swirl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swirl. Accessed 15 Aug. 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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