Definition of whorl
1 : a drum-shaped section on the lower part of a spindle in spinning or weaving machinery serving as a pulley for the tape drive that rotates the spindle
2 : an arrangement of similar anatomical parts (such as leaves) in a circle around a point on an axis
3 : something that whirls, coils, or spirals or whose form suggests such movement : swirl whorls of snow
4 : one of the turns of a univalve shell
5 : a fingerprint in which the central papillary ridges turn through at least one complete circle
Examples of whorl in a Sentence
the whorls and eddies of the river
the whorl of a fingerprint
Recent Examples of whorl from the Web
Of all President-elect Donald J. Trump’s rivals over the past year, the tiny narrow-mouthed whorl snail must be the smallest.
These events are related, Marie soon learns, but the whorl of history proves to be a game of Clue in which both the crimes and culprits have become obscured by the passage of time and the lesions of memory.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whorl'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of whorl
Middle English wharle, whorle, probably alteration of whirle, from whirlen to whirl
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
WHORL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of whorl for English Language Learners
: something that turns or goes around in a circle
: a pattern that is made by a series of circles that turn around a center point
: an arrangement of leaves, petals, etc., that forms a circle around a stem
WHORL Defined for Kids
Definition of whorl for Students
1 : a row of parts (as leaves or petals) encircling a stem
2 : something that whirls or winds a whorl of smoke
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up whorl? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).