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2017 Word of the Year

whir

or whirr

[hwur, wur] /ʰwɜr, wɜr/
verb (used without object), whirred, whirring.
1.
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.
2.
to move or transport (a thing, person, etc.) with a whirring sound:
The plane whirred them away into the night.
noun
3.
an act or sound of whirring:
the whir of wings.
Origin of whir
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English quirre (Scots) < Scandinavian; compare Danish hvirre, Norwegian kvirra. See whirl
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for whirs
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It whirs and buzzes and backs and starts and whirs and buzzes over and over again.

    Turns about Town Robert Cortes Holliday
  • The whirs of the insects suggested a ceaselessly active mentality.

    The Garden Of Allah Robert Hichens
  • At that moment he heard the whistle of a train, and between the whirs of the wind he heard the tinkle of the signal bell.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • And now—eight years after—'Mahbin Mill hums and whirs more merrily than ever.

British Dictionary definitions for whirs

whir

/wɜː/
noun
1.
a prolonged soft swish or buzz, as of a motor working or wings flapping
2.
a bustle or rush
verb whirs, whirrs, whirring, whirred
3.
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 whirs

whir

v.

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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Nearby words for whirs

Word Value for whirs

11
10
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