vor·​tex | \ ˈvȯr-ˌteks \
plural vortices\ ˈvȯr-​tə-​ˌsēz \ also vortexes\ ˈvȯr-​ˌtek-​səz \

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


gulf, maelstrom, whirlpool

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Examples of vortex in a Sentence

a boat sucked down into the vortex

Recent Examples on the Web

And right in the middle of the map is the biggest change of all: a floating island, held aloft over Loot Lake and a twisting vortex. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Fortnite moves so fast that I’ve already forgotten about the cube," 27 Sep. 2018 In July, the massive Carr Fire in California produced a vortex with winds clocked at 143 mph by the National Weather Service. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "Terrifying 'fire tornado' sucks firehose 200 feet into the sky, then melts it in midair," 18 Sep. 2018 Bowien says the same to me after our 45-minute careen into the SoulCycle vortex, his precisionist technique akin to crisp knife skills. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "Danny Bowien on the Hard-Partying Chef Life—Now Fueled by SoulCycle and Spirulina," 19 Oct. 2018 Earth was an immense aether vortex, circling around the sun. Meg Neal, Popular Mechanics, "The Eternal Quest for Aether, the Cosmic Stuff That Never Was," 19 Oct. 2018 There’s talk of tardigrade fields and time vortexes, and Laurence Fishburne delivers a technically sound lecture on something called quantum decoherence. New York Times, "The Science (and the Scientists) Behind ‘Ant-Man’," 6 July 2018 Bow echoes at times contain vortices, including a type called a mesocyclone contained in classic, isolated supercells. Jeff Halverson, Washington Post, "Monday’s nasty line of storms wasn’t quite a derecho, but was impressive by many measures," 15 May 2018 These vortexes produce narrow paths of extreme destruction within the larger tornado. Tom Skilling, chicagotribune.com, "Ask Tom: Can tornadoes 'hop' over certain places?," 25 June 2018 Talk of cold snaps and polar vortices could whipsaw the market—particularly on Monday mornings, when the markets reopen to a new weather forecast. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Think Oil Has Been Volatile? Watch Natural Gas," 14 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for vortex

Last Updated

4 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vortex

The first known use of vortex was in 1652

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English Language Learners Definition of vortex

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

vor·​tex | \ ˈvȯ(ə)r-ˌteks \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on vortex

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vortex

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vortex

Spanish Central: Translation of vortex

Nglish: Translation of vortex for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vortex for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about vortex

Comments on vortex

What made you want to look up vortex? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a complex dispute or argument

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