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swirl

[swurl] /swɜrl/
verb (used without object)
1.
to move around or along with a whirling motion; whirl; eddy.
2.
to be dizzy or giddy, as the head.
verb (used with object)
3.
to cause to whirl; twist.
noun
4.
a swirling movement; whirl; eddy.
5.
a twist, as of hair around the head or of trimming on a hat.
6.
any curving, twisting line, shape, or form.
7.
confusion; disorder.
Origin of swirl
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English (north) < Scandinavian; compare Norwegian svirla; cognate with Dutch zwirrelen to whirl, German (dial.) schwirrlen to totter; all < a root *swir- (whence Danish svirre to whirl, German schwirren to whir) + -l- frequentative suffix
Related forms
swirlingly, adverb
outswirl, verb (used with object)
Synonyms
2. reel, spin.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for swirl
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • With swirl and splash they darted up and seized upon the tiny fragments.

  • Then a swirl of other Mercutians anxious to get at the Earthman eddied him out of view.

    Slaves of Mercury Nat Schachner
  • Then, running to the rail, he peered down to where a swirl in the water indicated Sam's position.

    The Boy Pilot of the Lakes Frank V. Webster
  • This was sufficient recommendation for Henry, in the swirl of his agitation, to loose his tongue.

    Rope Holworthy Hall
  • Back beyond those wooded hills some freak of fate must lead me right, some swirl of fortune afford me opportunity.

    Love Under Fire Randall Parrish
British Dictionary definitions for swirl

swirl

/swɜːl/
verb
1.
to turn or cause to turn in a twisting spinning fashion
2.
(intransitive) to be dizzy; swim: my head was swirling
noun
3.
a whirling or spinning motion, esp in water
4.
a whorl; curl
5.
the act of swirling or stirring
6.
dizzy confusion
Derived Forms
swirling, adjective
swirlingly, adverb
swirly, adjective
Word Origin
C15: probably from Dutch zwirrelen; related to Norwegian svirla, German schwirren
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 swirl
n.

early 15c., "whirlpool, eddy," originally Scottish, perhaps related to dialectal Norwegian svirla or Dutch zwirrelen "to whirl." The meaning "whirling movement" is from 1818.

v.

1510s, with an isolated instance from 14c.; from swirl (n.). Related: Swirled; swirling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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