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


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Examples of vortex in a Sentence

a boat sucked down into the vortex
Recent Examples on the Web The wall cloud is a lowering of the cloud base that will lead to the vortex, or spinning of air. Jennifer Gray, CNN, 26 Apr. 2021 The polar vortex, which was severely disrupted in late January through February, has somewhat stabilized, keeping Arctic air bottled up in the Far North. Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2021 The same widening polar vortex that, in 1974, Time magazine said would cause global cooling. Washington Examiner Staff, Washington Examiner, 19 Feb. 2021 The country’s two largest states can’t keep the lights on in high wind (in California’s case) or amid a polar vortex (in Texas’s). Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 16 Feb. 2021 The stronger the polar vortex, the milder our winter is. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, 3 Feb. 2021 What’s worse is scientists are not even sure how to fix it, as a vortex of climate change, urbanization and predators endangers a beloved species. Lynda V. Mapes, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Jan. 2021 The weakening of the polar vortex, which ordinarily swirls around the Arctic and bottles up frigid air, brought near-record cold to North America this past winter. The Editors, Scientific American, 12 Dec. 2014 Visitors come from all over in search of the region’s portal, or vortex, into another world. San Francisco Chronicle, 1 July 2021

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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Last Updated

19 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vortex.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vortex. Accessed 25 Jul. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of vortex

technical : a mass of spinning air, liquid, etc., that pulls things into its center


transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on vortex

Nglish: Translation of vortex for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vortex for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about vortex


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