whirl·​pool | \ ˈhwər(-ə)l-ˌpül How to pronounce whirlpool (audio) , ˈwər(-ə)l- \

Definition of whirlpool

1a : a confused tumult and bustle : whirl
b : a magnetic or impelling force by which something may be engulfed refusing to be drawn into this whirlpool of intrigue— A. D. White
2a : water moving rapidly in a circle so as to produce a depression in the center into which floating objects may be drawn : eddy, vortex

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for whirlpool


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of whirlpool in a Sentence

The swimmer was caught in a whirlpool and nearly drowned. in The Odyssey, Ulysses is trapped between the six-headed monster Scylla and Charybdis, a deadly whirlpool that threatens to suck in his ship
Recent Examples on the Web Further Reading Physics can explain the fastball’s unexpected twist, new study finds It's well known that the movement of a baseball creates a whirlpool of air around it, commonly known as the Magnus effect. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Physics holds the secret to volleyball’s highly unpredictable “float serve”," 14 Nov. 2019 Sous vide cooking is essentially like creating a dinner-making whirlpool that effortlessly heats your food to the perfect temperature (no excessive monitoring necessary). NBC News, "Curtis Stone made a sous vide and it's on sale right now," 12 Nov. 2019 Salons were fined for not meeting sanitary requirements, such as sterilizing manicure and pedicure implements after each use; properly labeling products and cleaning whirlpool foot spas. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Houston nail salons fined in 2019 for unsanitary conditions, licensing violations," 1 Nov. 2019 Nearby fun: The resort offers guided hikes and yoga stretch classes, and Falls Water Village, which has two large pools, two whirlpools, a plunging water slide and more. Los Angeles Times, "Money Matters: Last-minute Labor Day escapes," 17 Aug. 2019 At its height, the company had sucked in the city’s talent like a whirlpool. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "Nokia’s collapse turned a sleepy town in Finland into an internet wonderland," 29 Oct. 2019 An even bigger challenge came at White Horse Rapids, which featured big standing waves, jagged rocks and whirlpools. Smithsonian, "Gold Fever! Deadly Cold! And the Amazing True Adventures of Jack London in the Wild," 24 Oct. 2019 Images are centripetal, sucking all the energy into the heart of the screen as if into a whirlpool. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "“The Lighthouse” Is Salted with Madness," 18 Oct. 2019 Spacious studios and suites are nonsmoking and furnished with flat-screen TVs and kitchens; one suite is outfitted with a king bed, whirlpool tub and deck. Gerry Frank, oregonlive, "3 great places to stay when you’re visiting Lincoln City: Gerry Frank’s picks," 13 Oct. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of whirlpool

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about whirlpool

Time Traveler for whirlpool

Time Traveler

The first known use of whirlpool was in 1529

See more words from the same year

Statistics for whirlpool

Last Updated

10 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Whirlpool.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whirlpool. Accessed 17 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for whirlpool


How to pronounce whirlpool (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of whirlpool

: an area of water in a river, stream, etc., that moves very fast in a circle


whirl·​pool | \ ˈhwərl-ˌpül How to pronounce whirlpool (audio) , ˈwərl- \

Kids Definition of whirlpool

: a rapid swirl of water with a low place in the center into which floating objects are drawn


whirl·​pool | \ ˈhwər(-ə)l-ˌpül, ˈwər(-ə)l- How to pronounce whirlpool (audio) \

Medical Definition of whirlpool

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on whirlpool

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


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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