9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[hwur, wur] /ʰwɜr, wɜr/
verb (used without object), whirred, whirring.
to go, fly, revolve, or otherwise move quickly with a humming or buzzing sound:
An electric fan whirred softly in the corner.
verb (used with object), whirred, whirring.
to move or transport (a thing, person, etc.) with a whirring sound:
The plane whirred them away into the night.
an act or sound of whirring:
the whir of wings.
Also, whirr.
Origin of whir
1350-1400; Middle English quirre (Scots) < Scandinavian; compare Danish hvirre, Norwegian kvirra. See whirl


[hwur, wur] /ʰwɜr, wɜr/
verb (used without object), verb (used with object), noun
whir. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for whirring
  • It is both rare and dependent, the last tenuous piece on a whirring mobile of coastal life.
  • The air is filled with brief blasts of whirring power tools and the smell of ozone and rubber.
  • The imam was round and jolly and sat cross-legged under a whirring ceiling fan.
  • We turned the outboard off and drifted in, closer and closer, the motors on our cameras whirring softly.
  • First there's a whirring, then a beep, then a high-pitched squeak.
  • The clanging, whirring sound- tracks heighten the giddy spectacle.
  • Substantial shows could feel incidental: immaterial grit in despotically whirring gears.
  • Inside was a maze of tightly packed, whirring gears and shafts, an amazing engineering feat.
  • Junk faxing has helped to keep the machines whirring.
  • The rumour-mill is now whirring as to what another set of stress tests will look for.
British Dictionary definitions for whirring


a prolonged soft swish or buzz, as of a motor working or wings flapping
a bustle or rush
verb whirs, whirrs, whirring, whirred
to make or cause to make a whir
Word Origin
C14: probably from Scandinavian; compare Norwegian kvirra, Danish hvirre; see 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 whirring



c.1400, Scottish, "fling, hurl," probably from Old Norse hvirfla, frequentative of hverfa "to turn" (see wharf). Cf. Danish hvirvle, Dutch wervelen, German wirbeln "to whirl." Related: Whirred; whirring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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