noun, plural ed·dies.
  1. a current at variance with the main current in a stream of liquid or gas, especially one having a rotary or whirling motion.
  2. a small whirlpool.
  3. any similar current, as of air, dust, or fog.
  4. a current or trend, as of opinion or events, running counter to the main current.
verb (used with or without object), ed·died, ed·dy·ing.
  1. to move or whirl in eddies.

Origin of eddy

1425–75; late Middle English; Old English ed- turning + ēa water; akin to Old Norse itha
Related formsun·ed·died, adjectiveun·ed·dy·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for eddies

whirlpool, swirl, tide, vortex

Examples from the Web for eddies

Contemporary Examples of eddies

  • I depart as air ... I shake my locks at the runaway sun, I effuse my flesh in eddies and drift it in lacy jags.

    The Daily Beast logo
    A Eulogy for Marie Colvin

    Katrina Heron

    March 14, 2012

Historical Examples of eddies

  • The sheep were tossed about like dead leaves, whirling in bands in the eddies.

    The Flood

    Emile Zola

  • Every now and then the wind blew in from the east picking up the dust in eddies.

  • So he conceives of eddies in the air, concentrating the smoke from forest fires.

  • The rough torrent, the eddies, the violent current were nothing—at least, not much!

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • In an instant I had shot out of the eddies and was skimming down the sky.

    Danger! and Other Stories

    Arthur Conan Doyle

British Dictionary definitions for eddies


noun plural -dies
  1. a movement in a stream of air, water, or other fluid in which the current doubles back on itself causing a miniature whirlwind or whirlpool
  2. a deviation from or disturbance in the main trend of thought, life, etc, esp one that is relatively unimportant
verb -dies, -dying or -died
  1. to move or cause to move against the main current

Word Origin for eddy

C15: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse itha; related to Old English ed- again, back, Old High German it-


  1. Mary Baker. 1821–1910, US religious leader; founder of the Christian Science movement (1866)
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

Word Origin and History for eddies



1810, from eddy (n.). Related: Eddied; eddying.



mid-15c., Scottish ydy, possibly from Old Norse iða "whirlpool," from Proto-Germanic *ith- "a second time, again," which is related to the common Old English prefix ed- "again, backwards; repetition, turning" (forming such words as edðingung "reconciliation," edgift "restitution," edniwian "to renew, restore," edhwierfan "to retrace one's steps," edgeong "to become young again"). Cf. Old English edwielle "eddy, vortex, whirlpool." The prefix is cognate with Latin et, Old High German et-, Gothic "and, but, however." Related: Eddies.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

eddies in Science


  1. A current, as of water or air, moving in a direction that is different from that of the main current. Eddies generally involve circular motion; unstable patterns of eddies are often called turbulence. See also vortex.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.