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

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Synonyms for whirlpool


gulf, maelstrom, vortex

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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

The master bath offers something rare: a steam shower combined with a whirlpool tub — all behind translucent glass. John Ellement, Boston.com Real Estate, "Home of the Week: Farmhand quarters serve as office suite in Needham antique," 21 Aug. 2019 The sheer force of the turbulent rapids and whirlpools are a great reminder of how powerful and transformative the natural world can be. Outside Online, "The Best Places to Savor Fall in British Columbia," 14 Aug. 2019 Superstition Shadows Aquatic Center Swimmers can try two water slides, diving boards and a vortex whirlpool at this state-of-the-art facility. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Summer in Arizona: Locals share 100 fun ways to survive the 100-degree heat in Phoenix," 1 July 2019 In the series, the interrogation scenes are presented as a whirlpool of badgering, menace and cajoling. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: Here's why the Cincinnati Reds' deal for Yasiel Puig was not bad," 8 June 2019 The bacterial strain responsible for 90% of Legionnaires’ cases lives in whirlpool spas, hot water tanks, cooling towers, ornamental fountains, and large air conditioning systems. Maggie O'neill, Health.com, "Is Legionnaires’ Disease Contagious? Here’s What to Know About the Outbreak in Atlanta," 16 July 2019 For those with kids in tow, a room at The Palm Canyon Resort grants access to the resort's 1.5-acre swimming pool with water slides to distract the kids and an in-cave whirlpool spa for a little adult time. Erin Behan, USA TODAY, "Escape to Palm Springs with a vacation designed just for you," 26 June 2019 The whirlpool rapids at the bottom of the fall can reach 30mph. Currie Engel, Time, "Man Survives Being Swept Over Niagara Falls," 10 July 2019 The warning was, 'don't even look at it because the whirlpool will hypnotize you and suck you in. CBS News, "A trip down the mighty Mississippi," 7 July 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.

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First Known Use of whirlpool

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for whirlpool

Last Updated

3 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for whirlpool

The first known use of whirlpool was in 1529

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More Definitions for whirlpool



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

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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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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