- a whirling mass of water, especially one in which a force of suction operates, as a whirlpool.
- a whirling mass of air, especially one in the form of a visible column or spiral, as a tornado.See also polar vortex.
- a whirling mass of fire, flame, etc.
- a state of affairs likened to a whirlpool for violent activity, irresistible force, etc.
- something regarded as drawing into its powerful current everything that surrounds it: the vortex of war.
- (in Cartesian philosophy) a rapid rotatory movement of cosmic matter about a center, regarded as accounting for the origin or phenomena of bodies or systems of bodies in space.
Origin of vortex
Examples from the Web for vortex
Yet not everyone is caught up this vortex of paralysis and resentment.Stock Market America and the Rest of Us
July 10, 2014
No, that would be Baia, a popular Roman resort once described by Seneca the Younger as a “vortex of luxury” (sign me up).The World’s Craziest Underwater Adventures
May 14, 2014
Except for a few storm chasers, who rushed straight toward the vortex.Why the Hell Do Storm Chasers Rush In?
May 21, 2013
Since last year, Greece has been sucked into a vortex by the debt woes that are now threatening the very foundations of the euro.Greece's Youth in Crisis
November 22, 2011
By the time a defense can be mounted, the vortex has already done its damage.Toyota's a Victim, Not a Villain
February 13, 2011
We had reached the middle and were right in the vortex, when suddenly she reeled in her saddle.A Hero of Our Time
M. Y. Lermontov
I was partly dragged, partly I went to a certain extent of my own will, into this vortex.The First Violin
Swallowed in the vortex of lower-class life of Paris—dead, probably.The White Lie
William Le Queux
In the vortex of the eddy the delusion of the vast cone was more pronounced.Dwellers in the Hills
Melville Davisson Post
We stand on the edge of the vortex, now will we plunge down.The Trail of '98
Robert W. Service
- a whirling mass or rotary motion in a liquid, gas, flame, etc, such as the spiralling movement of water around a whirlpool
- any activity, situation, or way of life regarded as irresistibly engulfing
Word Origin and History for vortex
1650s, "whirlpool, eddying mass," from Latin vortex, variant of vertex "an eddy of water, wind, or flame; whirlpool; whirlwind," from stem of vertere "to turn" (see versus). Plural form is vortices. Became prominent in 17c. theories of astrophysics (by Descartes, etc.). In reference to human affairs, it is attested from 1761. Vorticism as a movement in British arts and literature is attested from 1914, coined by Ezra Pound.
- A spiral motion of fluid within a limited area, especially a whirling mass of water or air that sucks everything near it toward its center.
- A circular, spiral, or helical motion in a fluid (such as a gas) or the fluid in such a motion. A vortex often forms around areas of low pressure and attracts the fluid (and the objects moving within it) toward its center. Tornados are examples of vortexes; vortexes that form around flying objects are a source of turbulence and drag. See also eddy.