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[pin-hwee-ling, -wee-] /ˈpɪnˌʰwi lɪŋ, -ˌwi-/
noun, U.S. Nautical.
the act of turning a multiple-screw ship within a minimum radius by having some engines going forward and others going in reverse.
Origin of pinwheeling


or pin wheel

[pin-hweel, -weel] /ˈpɪnˌʰwil, -ˌwil/
a child's toy consisting of a wheel or leaflike curls of paper or plastic loosely attached by a pin to a stick, designed to revolve when blown by or as by the wind.
Also called catherine wheel. a kind of firework supported on a pin which, when ignited, revolves rapidly and gives a dazzling display of light.
a wheel having pins at right angles to its rim for engaging the teeth of a gear.
verb (used without object)
to revolve rapidly like a pinwheel:
Images of the past pinwheeled through his mind.
1695-1705; pin + wheel Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for pinwheeling
Historical Examples
  • But the trouble was unknown, and they might end up rifling or pinwheeling if they didn't let bad enough alone.

    Tight Squeeze Dean Charles Ing
  • The concussion hit Johnny like a fist, pinwheeling him backwards in the rocker against the wall of the house.

    Make Mine Homogenized Rick Raphael
British Dictionary definitions for pinwheeling


another name for Catherine wheel (sense 1)
a cogwheel whose teeth are formed by small pins projecting either axially or radially from the rim of the wheel
(US & Canadian) a toy consisting of plastic or paper vanes attached to a stick in such a manner that they revolve like the sails of a windmill Also called (in Britain and certain other countries) windmill, whirligig
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 pinwheeling



also pin-wheel, 1690s, "a wheel in the striking train of a clock in which pins are fixed to lift the hammer," from pin (n.) + wheel (n.). Fireworks sense is from 1869.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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