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whorl

[hwurl, hwawrl, wurl, wawrl] /ʰwɜrl, ʰwɔrl, wɜrl, wɔrl/
noun
1.
a circular arrangement of like parts, as leaves or flowers, around a point on an axis; verticil.
2.
one of the turns or volutions of a spiral shell.
3.
anything shaped like a coil.
4.
one of the central ridges of a fingerprint, forming at least one complete circle.
5.
Textiles. a flywheel or pulley, as for a spindle.
Origin
late Middle English
1425-1475
1425-75; late Middle English whorle, whorvil, wharwyl, Old English hwyrfel, equivalent to hweorfa whorl of a spindle + -el noun suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for whorl
  • The snail kite feeds on this species, its beak curving precisely into the snail's whorl.
  • The solitary, nodding flower with an unpleasant odor rises on a stalk above a whorl of three broadly ovate, diamond-shaped leaves.
  • One or two flowers stand in the center of the whorl of leaves.
  • Mosses typically have small leaves arranged in a whorl around a short stem.
  • Two to three flower stalks may arise from the same whorl.
British Dictionary definitions for whorl

whorl

/wɜːl/
noun
1.
(botany) a radial arrangement of three or more petals, stamens, leaves, etc, around a stem
2.
(zoology) a single turn in a spiral shell
3.
one of the basic patterns of the human fingerprint, formed by several complete circular ridges one inside another Compare arch1 (sense 4b), loop1 (sense 10a)
4.
anything shaped like a coil
Derived Forms
whorled, adjective
Word Origin
C15: probably variant of whervillewhirl, influenced by Dutch worvel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for whorl
n.

mid-15c., "flywheel or pulley on a spindle," perhaps an alteration of whirl. Meaning "circle of leaves or flowers round a stem of a plant" is first recorded 1550s. Of seashells or other spiral structures, from 1828.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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whorl in Medicine

whorl (wôrl, wûrl)
n.

  1. A form that coils or spirals; a curl or swirl.

  2. A turn of the cochlea or of the ethmoidal crest.

  3. An area of hair growing in a radial manner.

  4. One of the circular ridges or convolutions of a fingerprint.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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whorl in Science
whorl
  (hwôrl, wôrl, hwûrl, wûrl)   
  1. An arrangement of three or more appendages radiating in a circular or spiral arrangement from a point on a plant, as leaves around the node of a stem. The sepals, petals, stamens, and carpels of angiosperms form four separate whorls within a complete flower.

  2. A single turn of a spiral shell of a mollusk.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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