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maelstrom

[meyl-struh m] /ˈmeɪl strəm/
noun
1.
a large, powerful, or violent whirlpool.
2.
a restless, disordered, or tumultuous state of affairs:
the maelstrom of early morning traffic.
3.
(initial capital letter) a famous hazardous whirlpool off the NW coast of Norway.
Origin of maelstrom
early Dutch
1550-1560
1550-60 for def 3; < early Dutch maelstroom, now spelling maalstroom, representing mal(en) to grind + stroom stream. See meal2, stream
Synonyms
2. tumult, pandemonium, bedlam.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for maelstrom

maelstrom

/ˈmeɪlstrəʊm/
noun
1.
a large powerful whirlpool
2.
any turbulent confusion
Word Origin
C17: from obsolete Dutch maelstroom, from malen to grind, whirl round + stroomstream

Maelstrom

/ˈmeɪlstrəʊm/
noun
1.
a strong tidal current in a restricted channel in the Lofoten Islands off the NW coast of Norway
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 maelstrom
n.

1680s (Hakluyt, 1560s, has Malestrand), name of a famous whirlpool off the northwest coast of Norway, from Danish malstrøm (1673), from older Dutch Maelstrom (modern maalstroom), literally "grinding-stream," from malen "to grind" (see meal) + stroom "stream" (see stream (n.)). The name was used by Dutch cartographers (e.g. Mercator, 1595). OED says perhaps originally from Færoic mal(u)streymur. Popularized as a synonym for "whirlpool" c.1841, the year of Poe's "A Descent into the Maelstrom."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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