\ 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 The converted surface had been a challenge since Friday when a thick dust began to swirl through Bristol's stadium during roughly four hours of practice. Jenna Fryer, orlandosentinel.com, "Martin Truex Jr. routs Bristol field on dirt to win his 1st Truck race," 29 Mar. 2021 To rinse rice, measure it into a bowl and cover it with cold water, then swirl it around with your hand. Lauren Corona, chicagotribune.com, "How to cook rice," 21 Mar. 2021 Speculation began to swirl that the Fenty Beauty and Savage x Fenty founder will soon be debuting a line of hair products, as a trademark for Fenty Hair was filed by the pop star's company on March 3. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rihanna Is Inspiring Us to Wear Pumps with Our Sweatpants," 12 Mar. 2021 After Got7 announced their departure from longtime management company JYP Entertainment in January, rumors began to swirl that the seven-piece K-pop act were disbanding. Tim Chan, Rolling Stone, "Song You Need to Know: Got7’s ‘Encore’ Shows the K-pop Powerhouses Aren’t Done Just Yet," 24 Feb. 2021 Just lift the pan from the heat and swirl it gently to mix it (but don’t stir). Sheryl Julian, BostonGlobe.com, "Cream, caramel, chocolate, and espresso powder go into these glorious little puddings," 26 Jan. 2021 People swab themselves and swirl it in a vial that is then placed in a test unit. NBC News, "FDA authorizes first at-home Covid-19 test that gives users results quickly," 17 Nov. 2020 The stellar particles swirl around the invisible object in a tilt-a-whirl of luminous reds and oranges. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "This Black Hole Was Hiding a Massive Surprise," 4 Mar. 2021 Use a toothpick to swirl and marble your food coloring droplets. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "How to Make Marbled Easter Eggs With Shaving Cream or Whipped Cream," 1 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His public image was larger than life, a swirl of travel, multiple marriages, big-game hunting, deep-sea fishing, bullfight-savoring, and similarly rip-snorting adventures. oregonlive, "With ‘Hemingway’ documentary, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick explore the man behind the macho image," 30 Mar. 2021 Zooms in on the perfect ice-cream swirl of Harry’s hair—an art form unto itself. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "31 Thoughts I Had While Spiraling Over Harry Styles and Olivia Wilde," 5 Jan. 2021 Baby-faced with a spiky swirl of silver-white hair, Price, 53, grew up in Beverly Hills, the son of Frank Price, who ran Columbia Pictures and Universal Pictures during part of the 1970s and ’80s, and actress Katherine Crawford. Stacy Perman Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Roy Price, ousted from Amazon over sexual harassment claims, is ready to talk," 23 Nov. 2020 Sometimes left behind in a swirl of celebration is the core significance of something just as important — the events themselves. Leanne Italie, Anchorage Daily News, "Rethinking life’s milestones with the end of the pandemic in sight," 9 Mar. 2021 The other looks a little like a Nike swirl, lower mid-right. George Bradt, Forbes, "Knowing When To Deliver Craftsman-Level Quality And Not," 2 Mar. 2021 His report came amid a swirl of other developments that show how quickly perceptions are changing about electric and self-driving vehicles and related demand for oil and gas. Evan Ramstad, Star Tribune, "Is Tesla worth a trillion dollars? You bet, says a Minnesota analyst," 8 Feb. 2021 Amid that swirl of derision, Baker’s Astros won playoff series against Minnesota and Oakland and rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to force a Game 7 against Tampa Bay. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "From 49ers’ Super Bowl to Gabe Kapler’s debut season, 2020 sports had its moments," 30 Dec. 2020 The house is built around her in a swirl of red magic. Erik Kain, Forbes, "‘WandaVision’ Episode 8 Review: A Powerful Journey Through Wanda’s Grief," 26 Feb. 2021

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

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Swirl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swirl. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for swirl



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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