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 Emergency declarations also have been used in weather emergencies, such as the polar vortex in 2019 or flooding in the Upper Peninsula in 2018 or to deal with the Flint water crisis in 2016. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Where does Gov. Whitmer get the power for drastic measures related to coronavirus," 19 Mar. 2020 Outside the vortex of hysteria that is social media, there’s no more reliable gauge of the national mood at any given moment than late-night talk shows. Judy Berman, Time, "Why Losing Late-Night Talk Shows to Coronavirus Feels Especially Bleak," 16 Mar. 2020 Once a vortex of internet-speak and unhinged adolescent behavior, TikTok, for better or worse, has gone mainstream. Michelle Santiago Cortés, refinery29.com, "The Best #FlipTheSwitch TikToks & How To Join The Trend," 9 Mar. 2020 Same for Future, human vortex of 21st century rap pathos, who has been memed into oblivion through snapshots of him typing on his phone. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "On Lil Uzi Vert’s ‘Eternal Atake,’ mixed emotions swirl toward the void," 9 Mar. 2020 Positive Arctic Oscillation essentially keeps the polar vortex in check and confined to the Arctic Circle. Dallas News, "What a near-record strength polar vortex means for weather in Dallas-Fort Worth," 20 Feb. 2020 During a downpour, the vortex might be moving as much as 10,000 gallons of water a minute—enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool in about an hour. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "The Factory Where They Engineer Massive Water Art Pieces," 6 Mar. 2020 Granted, the Master has always been mad, ever since looking into the time vortex at the Untempered Schism (a gap in the fabric of space and time) as a child. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Jodie Whittaker’s Time Lord returns to classic Doctor Who form," 4 Mar. 2020 Far up in the Arctic Circle, the polar vortex is unusually strong right now. Dallas News, "What a near-record strength polar vortex means for weather in Dallas-Fort Worth," 20 Feb. 2020

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

28 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

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