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[jahyuh r] /dʒaɪər/
a ring or circle.
a circular course or motion.
Oceanography. a ringlike system of ocean currents rotating clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
1560-70; < Latin gȳrus < Greek gŷros ring, circle
Related forms
subgyre, noun
supergyre, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gyres
  • Circulating ocean currents create these gyres in several places around the world, and ocean-borne plastic gets trapped.
  • The region appears to be rife with eddies and gyres that are quite transient.
  • The northern and southern gyres of the oceans are separated by eastward flowing counter currents.
  • The low level gyres are generally weaker than those at upper levels.
British Dictionary definitions for gyres


a circular or spiral movement or path
a ring, circle, or spiral
(intransitive) to whirl
Word Origin
C16: from Latin gӯrus circle, from Greek guros
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for gyres



1560s, "a circular motion;" as a verb, "to turn round," early 15c.; from Latin gyrus "circle, circular course, round, ring," and its derived verb gyrare, from Greek gyros "circle, ring," related to gyrós "rounded," perhaps from PIE root *geu- "to bend, curve" (cf. Armenian kor "crooked," Lithuanian gurnas "hip, ankle, bone," Norwegian kaure "a curly lock of hair").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gyres in Science
A spiral oceanic surface current driven primarily by the global wind system and constrained by the continents surrounding the three ocean basins (Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian). Each ocean basin has a large gyre in the subtropical region, centered around 30° north and south latitude. Smaller gyres occur at 50° north latitude in the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The direction of a gyre's rotation is determined by the prevailing winds in the region, with the large subtropical gyres rotating clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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