From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary


1. To turn round rapidly; to cause to rotate with velocity; to make to revolve. He whirls his sword around without delay. (Dryden)

2. To remove or carry quickly with, or as with, a revolving motion; to snatch; to harry. See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels, That whirled the prophet up at Chebar flood. (milton) The passionate heart of the poet is whirl'd into folly. (Tennyson)

Origin: OE. Whirlen, probably from the Scand.; cf. Icel. & Sw. Hvirfla, Dan. Hvirvle; akin to D. Wervelen, G. Wirbeln, freq. Of the verb seen in Icel. Hverfa to turn. See Wharf, and cf. Warble, Whorl.

1. To be turned round rapidly; to move round with velocity; to revolve or rotate with great speed; to gyrate. The whirling year vainly my dizzy eyes pursue. The wooden engine flies and whirls about. (Dryden)

2. To move hastily or swiftly. But whirled away to shun his hateful sight. (Dryden)

1. A turning with rapidity or velocity; rapid rotation or circumvolution; quick gyration; rapid or confusing motion; as, the whirl of a top; the whirl of a wheel. In no breathless whirl. The rapid . . . Whirl of things here below interrupt not the inviolable rest and calmness of the noble beings above. (south)

2. Anything that moves with a whirling motion. He saw Falmouth under gray, iron skies, and whirls of march dust. (Carlyle)

3. A revolving hook used in twisting, as the hooked 5b8 spindle of a rope machine, to which the threads to be twisted are attached.

4. (Science: botany) A whorl. See Whorl.

Origin: Cf. Dan. Hvirvel, Sw. Hvirfvel, Icel. Hvirfill the crown of the head, G. Wirbel whirl, crown of the head, D. Wervel. See Whirl.