wind·​mill | \ ˈwin(d)-ˌmil How to pronounce windmill (audio) \

Definition of windmill

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a mill or machine operated by the wind usually acting on oblique vanes or sails that radiate from a horizontal shaft especially : a wind-driven water pump or electric generator
b : the wind-driven wheel of a windmill
2 : something that resembles or suggests a windmill especially : a calisthenic exercise that involves alternately lowering each outstretched hand to touch the toes of the opposite foot
3 [from the episode in Don Quixote by Cervantes in which the hero attacks windmills under the illusion that they are giants] : an imaginary wrong, evil, or opponent usually used in the phrase to tilt at windmills


windmilled; windmilling; windmills

Definition of windmill (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cause to move like a windmill

intransitive verb

: to move like a windmill especially : to spin from the force of wind

Illustration of windmill

Illustration of windmill


windmill 1a

In the meaning defined above

Examples of windmill in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Most of Zegwaard's herd of 180 cattle, mostly black and white Holstein-Friesians, graze in meadows close to a traditional Dutch windmill and large white wind turbines. Mike Corder, ajc, 10 July 2022 From the water, boaters may have seen the red house, old windmill, and cattle grazing atop the bluffs. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 4 July 2022 Kyrgios’s forehand became a wristy whip instead of the windmill that sends opponents running backward. Matthew Futterman, New York Times, 4 July 2022 For something even more exclusive, though, a very lucky few will be able to book a night this June at Paris' famous Moulin Rouge, in a secret room inside the windmill itself. Maureen O'hare, CNN, 14 May 2022 The property had horses and goats, a playground and vegetable gardens, a windmill and a water tower. Johnny Edwards, ajc, 17 June 2022 Downtown, a park with a Dutch windmill and tulips attracts tourists each spring. Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2022 The Spenard Farmers Market sets up under the windmill in the Koot’s parking lot every Saturday morning. Naomi Stock, Anchorage Daily News, 16 June 2022 The oligarch’s most obvious contribution: underwriting the construction of the windmill. Washington Post, 12 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb All the same, Antonoff wears muscle shirts onstage and jumps off stacks of amps and pumps his fist in the air and plays windmill chords on his Gretsch Princess guitar. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 16 May 2022 The young center fielder stepped out of the batter’s box, grabbing at her shoulder, trying to windmill her arm in tiny circles. Los Angeles Times, 2 May 2022 On his first dunk, Green relied on Rockets rookie teammate Josh Christopher to deliver a pass to him off the side of the backboard while Green raced down the baseline, attempted to catch the ball, put it between his legs then windmill it home. Matt Young, Chron, 19 Feb. 2022 The town’s only grocery store is down the road, and beyond that, windmills tower over distant hills. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, 24 May 2020 But as batteries, solar panels, and windmills all continue to get cheaper and more efficient, that calculus should change. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, 22 May 2020 But has anyone in dunk-contest history snatched a pass one-handed, spun midair — keeping control of the ball — and windmilled it into the hoop with such vengeance? Phil Thompson,, 16 Feb. 2020 Singer Roger Daltrey, windmilling guitarist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon were 15 years away from induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — which itself wasn’t even an idea at the time. Chuck Yarborough,, 3 Sep. 2019 Look for the Pancakes & Waffles windmills in front of Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, 7 Aug. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of windmill


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1914, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Time Traveler for windmill

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The first known use of windmill was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near windmill

wind mantle



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Statistics for windmill

Last Updated

28 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Windmill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for windmill


wind·​mill | \ ˈwind-ˌmil How to pronounce windmill (audio) \

Kids Definition of windmill

: a mill or a machine (as for pumping water) worked by the wind turning sails or vanes at the top of a tower

More from Merriam-Webster on windmill

Nglish: Translation of windmill for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of windmill for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about windmill


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