whirligig

play
noun whirl·i·gig \ ˈhwər-li-ˌgig , ˈwər- \

Definition of whirligig

1 :a child's toy having a whirling motion
3 a :one that continuously whirls, moves, or changes
b :a whirling or circling course (as of events)

whirligig was our Word of the Day on 05/31/2017. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of whirligig from the Web

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

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


WHIRLIGIG Defined for English Language Learners

whirligig

play
noun

Definition of whirligig for English Language Learners

  • : a child's toy that spins rapidly


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