1375-1425;late Middle English (north) < Scandinavian; compare Norwegiansvirla; cognate with Dutchzwirrelen to whirl, German (dial.) schwirrlen to totter; all < a root *swir- (whence Danishsvirre to whirl, Germanschwirren to whir) + -l- frequentative suffix
early 15c., "whirlpool, eddy," originally Scottish, perhaps related to dialectal Norw. svirla or Du. zwirrelen "to whirl." The meaning "whirling movement" is from 1818. The verb is attested from 1510s, with an isolated instance from 14c.