vor·​tex | \ ˈvȯr-ˌteks How to pronounce vortex (audio) \
plural vortices\ ˈvȯr-​tə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce vortices (audio) \ also vortexes\ ˈvȯr-​ˌtek-​səz How to pronounce vortexes (audio) \

Definition of vortex

1 : something that resembles a whirlpool the hellish vortex of battleTime
2a : a mass of fluid (such as a liquid) with a whirling or circular motion that tends to form a cavity or vacuum in the center of the circle and to draw toward this cavity or vacuum bodies subject to its action especially : whirlpool, eddy
b : a region within a body of fluid in which the fluid elements have an angular velocity

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Examples of vortex in a Sentence

a boat sucked down into the vortex
Recent Examples on the Web Shortly after flushing, water rushes into the bowl, striking the opposite side with enough force to generate a vortex that forcefully pushes not only the liquid, but also the air inside the toilet. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "In public toilets, flushing isn't the only COVID-19 risk," 19 June 2020 Still, anxiety is not an excuse to drag everyone else into your vortex. Washington Post, "Pandemic stress is bringing out our boss’s nasty side," 17 June 2020 The frigid cold, caused by a polar vortex that blasted in from the north, set a number of records across the region, forecasters said. Fox News, "Thousands without power in Maine as polar vortex freezes big chunk of US," 9 May 2020 On Wednesday, that golf courses and beaches would be allowed to open, and many people were eager to take advantage of the moment, despite a polar vortex that brought clear skies and icy gusts of wind. Fredrick Kunkle, Washington Post, "Funnel cakes, french fries and waves: Even with social distancing, the return to Ocean City’s boardwalk is a welcome treat," 9 May 2020 Unless, that is, Okudah gets caught in a draft-night vortex and begins to drop. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Is Ohio State football’s Jeff Okudah the future star most likely to drop in NFL Draft 2020?," 14 Apr. 2020 Oh, and there’s a vortex swallowing everything in its path. Ann Lien, House Beautiful, "This Toile Pattern Features Aliens, Robots, and More," 12 Dec. 2019 It is bounded by an enormous gyre -- spinning oceanic currents that pull trash towards the center and trap it there, creating a garbage vortex. Sarah Lazarus, CNN, "Long-distance swimmer dives into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch," 11 Dec. 2019 Take its curling barrel as an example: Tiny vents that spiral around the attachment make a vortex that spins hair around the shaft, creating just enough tension to dry a perfect spiral in a few seconds. Popular Science, "The 100 greatest innovations of 2019," 3 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vortex.' 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 vortex

1652, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vortex

New Latin vortic-, vortex, from Latin vertex, vortex whirlpool — more at vertex

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Time Traveler for vortex

Time Traveler

The first known use of vortex was in 1652

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Statistics for vortex

Last Updated

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vortex.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vortex. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for vortex


How to pronounce vortex (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vortex

technical : a mass of spinning air, liquid, etc., that pulls things into its center
vor·​tex | \ ˈvȯ(ə)r-ˌteks How to pronounce vortex (audio) \

Medical Definition of vortex

: to mix (as the contents of a test tube) by means of a rapid whirling or circular motion vortex air into a solution

Other Words from vortex

vortexing noun

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