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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for whirred
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Michael heard him still moaning as the taxi jangled and whirred abruptly forward.

    Sinister Street, vol. 2 Compton Mackenzie
  • Insects hummed and shrilled, or whirred like a tiny orchestra.

    A Little Girl in Old Quebec Amanda Millie Douglas
  • It had a tail which could move, and a great ring round its neck which whirred when it went ahead.

    Through Arctic Lapland Cutcliffe Hyne
  • He was oblivious of the perilous steel that whirred and throbbed about him.

    The Shadow Arthur Stringer
  • They whirred up, brushing the branches, and the fox trotted away.

  • But when he did he swore at the lions, softly, as he whirred by.

    Mr. Achilles Jennette Lee
  • It whirred in its haste, and its burnished body shone in the sunshine between its gleaming wings.

    Bye-Ways Robert Smythe Hichens
  • When it reached the lowest keel-board it whirred with its wings and buzzed.

  • The creature fluttered out, whirred over the flower beds a moment, then darted across the moorland toward the sea.

    The Mystery of Choice Robert William Chambers
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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