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[twurl] /twɜrl/
verb (used with object)
to cause to rotate rapidly; spin; revolve; whirl.
to twiddle:
to twirl my thumbs.
to wind idly, as about something.
verb (used without object)
to rotate rapidly; whirl.
to turn quickly so as to face or point in another direction.
an act or instance of twirling; spin; whirl.
something convoluted or having a spiral shape; coil; curl; convolution.
Origin of twirl
First recorded in 1590-1600; tw(ist) + (wh)irl
Related forms
untwirled, adjective
untwirling, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for twirl
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Loubet, before parting with his, gave it a twirl as a drum-major does his cane.

    The Downfall Emile Zola
  • Well, you fellows can stay ashore if you want to, and twirl your fingers.

    Mayflower (Flor de mayo) Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • The captain took out a small pencil on a chain and began to twirl it.

    Image of the Gods Alan Edward Nourse
  • Having found the best materials at hand, he began to twirl the stick.

    An American Robinson Crusoe Samuel. B. Allison
  • Laughing a thick laugh, he gave a twirl to his moustache, and swaggered on.

  • And then he twirled all that he could twirl of that incipient moustache.

    Orley Farm

    Anthony Trollope
  • What was he ever good for in this world but to tie his neckcloth and twirl his cane?

    The Dew of Their Youth S. R. Crockett
  • There goes a straw—well, how it does twist and twirl, to be sure!

    The Yellow Fairy Book Leonora Blanche Alleyne Lang
British Dictionary definitions for twirl


to move or cause to move around rapidly and repeatedly in a circle
(transitive) to twist, wind, or twiddle, often idly: she twirled her hair around her finger
(intransitive; often foll by around or about) to turn suddenly to face another way: she twirled around angrily to face him
an act of rotating or being rotated; whirl or twist
something wound around or twirled; coil
a written flourish or squiggle
Derived Forms
twirler, noun
Word Origin
C16: perhaps a blend of twist + whirl
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 twirl

1590s (n. and v.), of uncertain origin, possibly connected with Old English þwirl "a stirrer." Or else a blend of twist and whirl. Related: Twirled; twirling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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