whirl

1 of 2

verb

whirled; whirling; whirls

intransitive verb

1
: to move in a circle or similar curve especially with force or speed
2
a
: to turn on or around an axis like a wheel : rotate
b
: to turn abruptly around or aside : wheel
whirled around in surprise
3
: to pass, move, or go quickly
whirled down the hallway
4
: to become giddy or dizzy : reel
my head is whirling

transitive verb

1
: to drive, impel, or convey with or as if with a rotary motion
2
a
: to cause to turn usually rapidly on or around an axis : rotate
b
: to cause to turn abruptly around or aside
3
obsolete : to throw or hurl violently with a revolving motion
whirler noun

whirl

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: a rapid rotating or circling movement
b
: something undergoing such a movement
2
a
: a busy or fast-paced succession of events : bustle
a whirl of activity
the social whirl
b
: a confused or disturbed mental state : turmoil
a whirl of febrile excitement Emily Skeel
3
: an experimental or brief attempt : try
gave it a whirl

Keep scrolling for more

Example Sentences

Verb The cars were whirling around the track. Clothes were whirling in the washing machine. The water whirled around the drain. Her dance partner whirled her around. Noun My head was in a whirl. the whirl of the mechanical ride made him dizzy See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Oak smoke perfumes the air, rays of sun cutting through it at dramatic angles as hawks whirl overhead. Sunset Magazine, 29 July 2022 The painting commemorates a Christian sacrament, but it is framed with Native dancers and an Indigenous sport where men suspended on ropes from their ankles or waists whirl around a tall wooden post — sort of an extreme maypole. Los Angeles Times, 20 June 2022 Expert shaobing bakers whirl and slap the dough so thin that the finished product has 18 or more layers. Jen Rose Smith, CNN, 4 May 2022 The scarves started to twist and to whirl, the mood shifting from regret at what had been snatched away to celebration of all that remained. New York Times, 3 May 2022 Then put it in a centrifuge and whirl it around in a radioactive tornado, until the lightest particles cluster towards the center. Gregory Barber, Wired, 17 Mar. 2022 Arizona guard Dalen Terry lobbed up the basketball toward the rim and watched his 7-foot-1 teammate swoop in, grab it out of the air and dunk it, prompting Terry to whirl around and flash his teeth in a gleeful grin. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, 23 Mar. 2022 The peppers whirl around their heads until the astronauts catch them and tape them against a board to photograph. Melanie Canales, Wired, 21 Dec. 2021 Cheap chandeliers light the joint, ceiling fans whirl overhead, and a red-fringed curtain surrounds the stage, where bands perform nightly. Pam Leblanc, Condé Nast Traveler, 16 Dec. 2021
Noun
He’s one of the few people in any walk of life to have a deep, long-lasting amity with Russell, who guards his privacy and is fiercely dismissive of the social whirl. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 Sep. 2021 Only Tom Farley did not give the comedy business a whirl. George Castle, Chicago Tribune, 10 Sep. 2022 Up to one side is the whirl’s edge, open sky, a brilliant moon. Anthony Lydgate, WIRED, 6 Sep. 2022 The release of the cast album added to the whirl of fascination, as Sondheim’s superb score could be appreciated independent of the unsolved problems of the production. Maryrose Wood, Variety, 12 Aug. 2022 Alison had worked with Baena and Shannon on previous films and was game to give it another whirl for Spin Me Round. Scott King, Forbes, 17 Aug. 2022 Like the girl in the song, everyone wants to give the Bananas a whirl these days, or to be whirled by the Bananas. Kent Somers, The Arizona Republic, 3 July 2022 And, as the crew aboard the Challenger Shuttle prepared for a satellite repair mission, astronaut Bruce McCandless II decided to give it a whirl. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 22 June 2022 Giving Rhode another whirl, Jen applies the Barrier Restore Cream for extra plumping action. Seventeen, 22 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whirl.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse hvirfla to whirl; akin to Old High German wirbil whirlwind, Old English hweorfan to turn — more at wharf

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of whirl was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near whirl

Cite this Entry

“Whirl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whirl. Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

Kids Definition

whirl 1 of 2

verb

ˈhwərl How to pronounce whirl (audio)
ˈwərl
whirled; whirling
1
: to turn or move in circles rapidly
2
: to feel dizzy
After the ride my head whirled.
3
: to move or carry around rapidly

whirl

2 of 2

noun

1
: a rapid movement in circles
2
: something that is or seems to be moving in circles
a whirl of dust
3
: a state of busy movement : bustle
4
: a brief or experimental try
I've never tried, but I'll give it a whirl.

More from Merriam-Webster on whirl

Last Updated: 11 Aug 2022

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ