whir

verb
\ ˈhwər How to pronounce whir (audio) , ˈwər\
variants: or less commonly whirr
whirred; whirring

Definition of whir

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to fly, revolve, or move rapidly with a whir hummingbirds whirring past

transitive verb

: to move or carry rapidly with a whir

whir

noun
variants: or less commonly whirr

Definition of whir (Entry 2 of 2)

: a continuous fluttering or vibratory sound made by something in rapid motion the whir of machinery

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Synonyms for whir

Synonyms: Verb

bumble, burr, buzz, drone, hum, whish, whiz (or whizz), zip, zoom

Synonyms: Noun

burr, buzz, chirr, churr, drone, hum, purr, thrum, whiz (or whizz), zoom

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Examples of whir in a Sentence

Verb

the hummingbird whirred as it hovered over a flower our tires whirred as we traveled over the rough road

Noun

the whir of a fan a whir coming from the refrigerator
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Ceiling fans whirred overhead, stirring up dust and flapping the pages of the newspaper. Beth Thames | Bethmthames@gmail.com, al, "Ode to the air conditioner," 14 Aug. 2019 At a former Nestle plant in Itasca, in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, panning machines whir loudly as sugar crystals are sprayed with liquid sugar, over and over, to create the little bumps of candy known as Nerds. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz, chicagotribune.com, "Butterfinger gets sales boost as Chicago-born Ferrara Candy revamps former Nestle brands," 22 July 2019 The train sat at the station for about five minutes before whirring into life and rumbling forward. BostonGlobe.com, "For Red Line commutes, a roll of the dice and branch determine timing," 6 Aug. 2019 Conversations carry on at 60 decibels (dB), vacuum cleaners whir at 70, alarm clocks wail at 80, stadiums can rock as loud as 130. Jennifer Emerling, National Geographic, "Seeking silence on a California road trip," 6 Aug. 2019 But the reason the machine can whir away in her lab has less to do with science than with softball. Eliza Fawcett, chicagotribune.com, "‘We want to give money directly to research’: Softball tournament propels search for cure for breast cancer," 5 July 2019 Consider a dress that turns traditional looming heddles into whooshing sequins that shimmied and whirred as the model walked down the runway, the sound itself a callback to the hubbub of a factory at its busiest hour. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "“I Really Feel Quite Lucky”—Sarah Burton Reflects on Her Magical Career at Alexander McQueen," 30 May 2019 Denver’s staff helped hone Porter Jr.'s attention toward envisioning himself in Michael Malone’s whirring offense. Jake Fischer, SI.com, "Michael Porter Jr. Wants to Be the NBA's Next Big Gap-Year Success," 13 July 2019 Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction, Klosterman’s first collection of short stories, extends his trademark curiosity and whirring intelligence to the realm of fiction. Time, "Review: A Puma in the Airplane Bathroom, a Wikipedia Page Deleter and More in Chuck Klosterman's Latest," 11 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Six weeks before debut, maintenance workers painted drywall and swept floors over the whir of industrial fans. Phillip Valys, sun-sentinel.com, "A sneak peek at Fort Lauderdale’s first food hall," 15 Aug. 2019 After posing for photographs in a crush of international journalists, the two men walked back to the South Korean side amid a whir of cameras and had a bilateral meeting that lasted about an hour in Freedom House. Yonette Joseph, BostonGlobe.com, "4 takeaways from the Trump-Kim meeting at the DMZ," 30 June 2019 The music is visceral, the high-pitch whir of the lira flutes like a snake worming its way through my earholes and taking hold of my brain stem. National Geographic, "Music in Morocco: The ultimate sonic journey," 23 July 2019 The unmistakable whir of a Formula E car is one of the most distinctive sounds in sport. CBS News, "Inside Formula E, the electric car league vying to become the future of auto racing," 13 July 2019 For Taurasi, the mouth goes, the mind whirs, no filter. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: Diana Taurasi reaching her basketball and life goal every day, with plenty to say along the way," 12 July 2019 Restaurant noise routinely climbs into the high 70-decibel range (the whir of a canister vacuum) and sometimes hits the mid-80s (the roar of a nearby diesel truck). Joyce Cohen, Twin Cities, "For those with hearing impairments, restaurant noise isn’t just an irritation. It’s discrimination," 22 June 2019 The 3,000-acre family farm growing corn, soybeans and wheat in southern Lenawee County is usually a whir of activity by that time. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan's climate: Models project 30% increase in rain and snow, plus rising temps," 13 June 2019 At night, the faintest whir of helicopter blades would jolt her from bed; wounded were on the way. Jim Rendon, Marie Claire, "When Female Veterans Return Home," 29 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whir.' 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 whir

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

1677, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for whir

Verb

Middle English (Scots) quirren, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish hvirre to whirl, whir

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Learn More about whir

Dictionary Entries near whir

whip top

whip up

whipworm

whir

whirl

whirlabout

whirlbat

Statistics for whir

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for whir

The first known use of whir was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for whir

whir

noun

English Language Learners Definition of whir

: the sound made by something that is spinning very fast

whir

verb
\ ˈhwər How to pronounce whir (audio) , ˈwər\
whirred; whirring

Kids Definition of whir

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to fly, operate, or turn rapidly with a buzzing sound … the machines stopped whirring, and from then on, not a single chocolate … was made.— Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

whir

noun

Kids Definition of whir (Entry 2 of 2)

: a buzzing sound made by something spinning or operating quickly

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More from Merriam-Webster on whir

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with whir

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for whir

Spanish Central: Translation of whir

Nglish: Translation of whir for Spanish Speakers

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