Did You Know?
English speakers, and particularly children, began spinning whirligigs as early as the 15th century. Since then, "whirligig" has acquired several meanings beyond its initial toy sense. It even has a place in the common name of the whirligig beetle, a member of the family Gyrinidae that swiftly swims in circles on the surface of still water. The word whirligig comes to us from Middle English "whirlegigg" ("whirling top"), which is itself from whirlen, meaning "to whirl," and gigg, meaning "(toy) top."
Origin and Etymology of whirligig
Middle English whirlegigg, from whirlen to whirl + gigg top — more at gig
First Known Use: 15th century
WHIRLIGIG Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of whirligig for English Language Learners
: a child's toy that spins rapidly
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