- a large, powerful, or violent whirlpool.
- a restless, disordered, or tumultuous state of affairs: the maelstrom of early morning traffic.
- (initial capital letter) a famous hazardous whirlpool off the NW coast of Norway.
Origin of maelstrom
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for maelstrom
Within this maelstrom of mendacity lies an urgent film that dares to convey the black experience in America: Dear White People.‘Dear White People’: How An Ex-Publicist’s Twitter Became One of the Year’s Most Important Films
October 30, 2014
Ruffalo, who plays his brother, is great as the steady hand amid a maelstrom of emotion.Channing Tatum Is the Real Star of ‘Foxcatcher'
October 23, 2014
The blast was a stupefying white flash followed by a body-shaking howl, and it was the cue for a maelstrom of metallic shrieks.Shocked by Ukraine Violence, NATO Prepares to Face Down Putin
October 12, 2014
I directed the 15th episode, which was right in the middle of a maelstrom of shooting and cutting The Divide.Tony Goldwyn Tackles Political Scandal Again on ‘The Divide’
July 16, 2014
In the midst of this maelstrom came a strange and determinedly anachronistic new novel by William Goldman.American Dreams, 1973: The Princess Bride by William Goldman
August 28, 2013
How few who plunge into this maelstrom of chance ever rise again!The Lure of the Mask
They saw so many boats go into the maelstrom that they steered into other waters.The Wedding Ring
T. De Witt Talmage
It was, rather, his work, which swept him into a maelstrom of new activities.Mistress Anne
That is the rock, that is the quicksand, that is the maelstrom.
The two I am thinking of were of these, typical of the maelstrom.Children of the Tenements
Jacob A. Riis
- a large powerful whirlpool
- any turbulent confusion
- a strong tidal current in a restricted channel in the Lofoten Islands off the NW coast of Norway
Word Origin and History for maelstrom
1680s (Hakluyt, 1560s, has Malestrand), name of a famous whirlpool off the northwest coast of Norway, from Danish malstrøm (1673), from older Dutch Maelstrom (modern maalstroom), literally "grinding-stream," from malen "to grind" (see meal) + stroom "stream" (see stream (n.)). The name was used by Dutch cartographers (e.g. Mercator, 1595). OED says perhaps originally from Færoic mal(u)streymur. Popularized as a synonym for "whirlpool" c.1841, the year of Poe's "A Descent into the Maelstrom."