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whirl

[hwurl, wurl] /ʰwɜrl, wɜrl/
verb (used without object)
1.
to turn around, spin, or rotate rapidly:
The merry-go-round whirled noisily.
2.
to turn about or aside quickly:
He whirled and faced his pursuers.
3.
to move, travel, or be carried rapidly along:
She whirled along the freeway in her new car.
4.
to feel as though spinning rapidly; reel as from dizziness:
My head began to whirl.
verb (used with object)
5.
to cause to turn around, spin, or rotate rapidly.
6.
to send, drive, or carry in a circular or curving course.
7.
to drive, send, or carry along with great or dizzying rapidity.
8.
Obsolete. to hurl.
noun
9.
the act of whirling; rapid rotation or gyration.
10.
a whirling movement; quick turn or swing.
11.
a short drive, run, walk, or the like; spin.
12.
something that whirls; a whirling current or mass.
13.
a rapid round of events, affairs, etc.:
a whirl of meetings, conferences, and business lunches.
14.
a state marked by dizziness or a dizzying succession of feelings, thoughts, etc.
15.
an attempt or trial, especially one undertaken tentatively or experimentally:
Even if you don't agree with my plan, won't you give it a whirl?
16.
Machinery, whip (def 26).
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English whirlen < Old Norse hvirfla to whirl, akin to Old English hwyrflung turning, revolving, hwyrfel circuit; see whorl
Related forms
whirler, noun
whirlingly, adverb
outwhirl, verb (used with object)
unwhirled, adjective
Synonyms
1. gyrate, pirouette. 1, 5. revolve, twirl, wheel. 9. spin, revolution. 15. try, go, fling, whack.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for whirling
  • It came slowly in a whirling mist of snow-flakes, that dazzled and confused the eye.
  • Fire tornadoes occur when intense heat and turbulent wind conditions combine to form whirling eddies of air.
  • So white the sun glanced off in dazzling display to set forms whirling behind your eyelids.
  • The ship was there, hovering around the whirling entrance to the event horizon.
  • When he ran, he was a ballet dancer alone in a studio, whirling.
  • Most fish with whirling disease will have a shortened life span, resulting in reduced trout populations.
  • Violent storms characterized by whirling funnels of wind moving at great speeds.
  • Information gathered from anglers' logs also played a part in identifying when whirling disease first appeared in the state.
  • Hypnotizing, icy streams whirling around and around waiting to grasp your ankle to pull you into its world of wonders.
British Dictionary definitions for whirling

whirl

/wɜːl/
verb
1.
to spin, turn, or revolve or cause to spin, turn, or revolve
2.
(intransitive) to turn around or away rapidly
3.
(intransitive) to have a spinning sensation, as from dizziness, etc
4.
to move or drive or be moved or driven at high speed
noun
5.
the act or an instance of whirling; swift rotation or a rapid whirling movement
6.
a condition of confusion or giddiness: her accident left me in a whirl
7.
a swift round, as of events, meetings, etc
8.
a tumult; stir
9.
(informal) a brief trip, dance, etc
10.
(informal) give something a whirl, to attempt or give a trial to something
Derived Forms
whirler, noun
whirling, adjective
whirlingly, adverb
Word Origin
C13: from Old Norse hvirfla to turn about; related to Old High German wirbil whirlwind
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 whirling

whirl

v.

late 13c., probably from Old Norse hvirfla "to go round, spin," related to hvirfill "circle, ring, crown," and to Old English hweorfan "to turn" (see whir). Related: Whirled; whirling. Whirlybird "helicopter" is from 1951.

n.

early 15c., "flywheel of a spindle," from whirl (v.). The meaning "act of whirling" is recorded from late 15c.; figurative sense of "confused activity" is recorded from 1550s. Colloquial sense of "tentative attempt" is attested from 1884, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with whirling
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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