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[twurl] /twɜrl/
verb (used with object)
to cause to rotate rapidly; spin; revolve; whirl.
to twiddle:
to twirl my thumbs.
to wind idly, as about something.
verb (used without object)
to rotate rapidly; whirl.
to turn quickly so as to face or point in another direction.
an act or instance of twirling; spin; whirl.
something convoluted or having a spiral shape; coil; curl; convolution.
Origin of twirl
1590-1600; tw(ist) + (wh)irl
Related forms
untwirled, adjective
untwirling, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for twirl
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • “There you are, then,” said Carey, giving the spoon a twirl and dabbing a goodly portion on the biscuit.

    King o' the Beach George Manville Fenn
  • The captain took out a small pencil on a chain and began to twirl it.

    Image of the Gods Alan Edward Nourse
  • He reached for his pipe, got out his twisted leather tobacco pouch, and opened it with a twirl of his thumb and finger.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • Having found the best materials at hand, he began to twirl the stick.

    An American Robinson Crusoe Samuel. B. Allison
  • Then hold the thread firmly between thumb and finger of each hand and twirl it rapidly, drawing it suddenly taut.

  • What was he ever good for in this world but to tie his neckcloth and twirl his cane?

    The Dew of Their Youth S. R. Crockett
  • Starr demanded when Britt began to twirl the knob of a steel door that guarded his private vault.

  • Let him twirl off one columbine or another, or a dozen, and then—the last of him!

British Dictionary definitions for twirl


to move or cause to move around rapidly and repeatedly in a circle
(transitive) to twist, wind, or twiddle, often idly: she twirled her hair around her finger
(intransitive; often foll by around or about) to turn suddenly to face another way: she twirled around angrily to face him
an act of rotating or being rotated; whirl or twist
something wound around or twirled; coil
a written flourish or squiggle
Derived Forms
twirler, noun
Word Origin
C16: perhaps a blend of twist + whirl
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 twirl

1590s (n. and v.), of uncertain origin, possibly connected with Old English þwirl "a stirrer." Or else a blend of twist and whirl. Related: Twirled; twirling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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