Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[vuh-loot] /vəˈlut/
a spiral or twisted formation or object.
Architecture. a spiral ornament, found especially in the capitals of the Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite orders.
Carpentry. a horizontal scrolled termination to the handrail of a stair.
  1. a turn or whorl of a spiral shell.
  2. any of various tropical marine gastropods of the family Volutidae, many species of which have shells prized for their coloration.
the spiral casing surrounding the impeller of a volute pump.
having a volute or rolled-up form.
  1. spirally shaped or having a part so shaped.
  2. moving in a circular way, especially if combined with a lateral motion.
Origin of volute
1690-1700; (< F) < Latin volūta, feminine of volūtus, past participle of volvere to turn. See revolve
Related forms
voluted, adjective
volution, noun
intervolute, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for volutes
Historical Examples
  • It appears in Polynesian tattooing, this love of spirals and volutes.

    Magic and Religion Andrew Lang
  • The difficult transition from the end of the shaft to the volutes was evaded, and masked by anthemions or other ornaments.

    History of Ancient Art Franz von Reber
  • The faces of the volutes must recede from the edge of the abacus inwards by one and a half eighteenths of that same amount.

  • There seems to have been no distinction in the direction of the volutes, they turning indifferently to the right or to the left.

    The Swastika

    Thomas Wilson
  • Aplustre, ap-lus′tėr, n. the ornament rising above the stern of ancient ships, often a sheaf of volutes.

  • In point of beauty they would rival the volutes were they not so much handicapped by their small size.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide Augusta Foote Arnold
  • It is called taking the "whelk striæ," the fusiform being called "rice baskets," and the volutes "peck measures."

  • On the other hand, volutes and other genera of univalve shells, usually met with only in tertiary strata, occur.

  • These volutes are supposed to have been copied from ringlets of hair, or from the horns of the god Jupiter Ammon.

  • At most they were etched with designs of men and women, as in the example from Olympia, or have two volutes.

    The World of Homer

    Andrew Lang
British Dictionary definitions for volutes


/ˈvɒljuːt; vəˈluːt/
a spiral or twisting turn, form, or object; spiral; whorl
Also called helix. a carved ornament, esp as used on an Ionic capital, that has the form of a spiral scroll
any of the whorls of the spirally coiled shell of a snail or similar gastropod mollusc
any tropical marine gastropod mollusc of the family Volutidae, typically having a spiral shell with beautiful markings
a tangential part, resembling the volute of a snail's shell, that collects the fluids emerging from the periphery of a turbine, impeller pump, etc
having the form of a volute; spiral
(machinery) moving in a spiral path
Word Origin
C17: from Latin volūta a spiral decoration, from volūtus rolled, from volvere to roll up
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for volutes



1690s, "spiral ornament on an Ionic capital," from French volute, from Italian voluta, from Latin voluta "a spiral scroll," originally fem. past participle of volvere "to turn around, roll" (see volvox). Extended 1756 to any spiral thing or part. As a type of spiral seashell, it is attested from 1753.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
volutes in Medicine

volute vo·lute (və-lōōt')
A spiral formation, such as one of the whorls of a gastropod shell.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for volutes

Word Value for volutes

Scrabble Words With Friends