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or whirr

[hwur, wur] /ʰwɜr, wɜr/
verb (used without object), whirred, whirring.
to go, fly, revolve, or otherwise move quickly with a humming or buzzing sound:
An electric fan whirred softly in the corner.
verb (used with object), whirred, whirring.
to move or transport (a thing, person, etc.) with a whirring sound:
The plane whirred them away into the night.
an act or sound of whirring:
the whir of wings.
Origin of whir
1350-1400; Middle English quirre (Scots) < Scandinavian; compare Danish hvirre, Norwegian kvirra. See whirl


[hwur, wur] /ʰwɜr, wɜr/
verb (used with or without object), noun
whir. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for whirred
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It whirred gratefully; the clanking stopped and she tried again.

  • Insects hummed and shrilled, or whirred like a tiny orchestra.

    A Little Girl in Old Quebec Amanda Millie Douglas
  • They braced their feet, whirred, lifted unevenly, and sank back with a jar.

    Edge of the Jungle William Beebe
  • He was oblivious of the perilous steel that whirred and throbbed about him.

    The Shadow Arthur Stringer
  • But when he did he swore at the lions, softly, as he whirred by.

    Mr. Achilles Jennette Lee
  • No more for us the fluttering of wings That whirred in the air above us.

    Canzoni & Ripostes Ezra Pound
  • They whirred up, brushing the branches, and the fox trotted away.

  • The motor beneath them whirred and panted and the car began to move.

  • A partridge or two whirred across the path from copse to meadow.

    Jaffery William J. Locke
British Dictionary definitions for whirred


a prolonged soft swish or buzz, as of a motor working or wings flapping
a bustle or rush
verb whirs, whirrs, whirring, whirred
to make or cause to make a whir
Word Origin
C14: probably from Scandinavian; compare Norwegian kvirra, Danish hvirre; see 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 whirred



c.1400, Scottish, "fling, hurl," probably from Old Norse hvirfla, frequentative of hverfa "to turn" (see wharf). Cf. Danish hvirvle, Dutch wervelen, German wirbeln "to whirl." Related: Whirred; whirring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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