Word of the Day

Monday, April 21, 2003

maelstrom

\MAYL-struhm\ , noun;
1.
A large, powerful, or destructive whirlpool.
2.
Something resembling a maelstrom; a violent, disordered, or turbulent state of affairs.
Quotes:
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
Origin:
Maelstrom comes from obsolete Dutch maelstroom, from malen, "to grind, hence to whirl round," + stroom, "stream."
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