Word of the Day Archive
Tuesday February 13, 2001
maelstrom \MAYL-struhm\ , noun:
1. A large, powerful, or destructive whirlpool.
2. Something resembling a maelstrom; a violent, disordered, or turbulent state of affairs.
The murk became thicker as Zachareesi fishtailed his canoe through a swirling maelstrom of currents pouring past, and over, unseen rocks.
-- Farley Mowat, The Farfarers
Suddenly, the Serb cause was thrust into the maelstrom of the Napoleonic Wars.
-- Misha Glenny, The Balkans
Always at the center of a maelstrom of activity and contention, he provided good columns for the press.
-- Arthur Lennig, Stroheim
Like Captain Ahab, the monomaniacal Harmon draws everyone around him into a maelstrom of trouble.
-- John Motyka, review of The Dogs of Winter, by Kem Nunn, New York Times, March 23, 1997
Maelstrom comes from obsolete Dutch maelstroom, from malen, "to grind, hence to whirl round," + stroom, "stream."