whorl

noun \ ˈhwȯr(-ə)l , ˈwȯr(-ə)l , ˈ(h)wər(-ə)l \

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

  1. the whorls and eddies of the river

  2. the whorl of a fingerprint

Recent Examples of whorl from the Web

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


WHORL Defined for English Language Learners

whorl

noun

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

whorl

noun \ ˈhwȯrl , ˈwȯrl , ˈhwərl , ˈwərl \

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

Medical Dictionary

whorl

noun \ ˈhwor(-ə)l , ˈwȯr(-ə)l , ˈ(h)wər(-ə)l \

medical Definition of whorl

: a fingerprint in which the central papillary ridges turn through at least one complete turn

Illustration of whorl



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