• synonyms


[ jahyuh r ]
/ dʒaɪər /


a ring or circle.
a circular course or motion.
Oceanography. a ringlike system of ocean currents rotating clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.


globe, circus, crown, disk, enclosure, belt, bowl, meridian, horizon, circlet, hoop, aureole, compass, coil, lap, halo, cycle, circumference, band, bracelet

Nearby words

gyrate, gyrate atrophy of choroid and retina, gyration, gyrator, gyratory, gyre, gyrectomy, gyrene, gyrfalcon, gyri, gyri insulae

Origin of gyre

1560–70; < Latin gȳrus < Greek gŷros ring, circle
Related formssub·gyre, nounsu·per·gyre, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gyre

  • Yet with the tsunami debris joining the gyre, the problem is compounding more quickly than anyone can measure.

    Japanese Debris Plume From Tsunami Migrating Across Pacific Ocean|Daniel Stone|March 9, 2012|DAILY BEAST
  • Gyre (derived from Gayour or Giaour, a dog), “to scratch like a dog.”

  • Dorsally, the fissure bifurcates, embracing the gyre indented by the caudal limb of the paracentral.

    Christian Science|Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

British Dictionary definitions for gyre


/ (dʒaɪə) mainly literary /


a circular or spiral movement or path
a ring, circle, or spiral


(intr) to whirl

Word Origin for gyre

C16: from Latin gӯrus circle, from Greek guros
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 gyre



1560s, "a circular motion;" as a verb, "to turn round," early 15c.; from Latin gyrus "circle, circular course, round, ring," and its derived verb gyrare, from Greek gyros "circle, ring," related to gyrós "rounded," perhaps from PIE root *geu- "to bend, curve" (cf. Armenian kor "crooked," Lithuanian gurnas "hip, ankle, bone," Norwegian kaure "a curly lock of hair").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for gyre


[ jīr ]

A spiral oceanic surface current driven primarily by the global wind system and constrained by the continents surrounding the three ocean basins (Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian). Each ocean basin has a large gyre in the subtropical region, centered around 30° north and south latitude. Smaller gyres occur at 50° north latitude in the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The direction of a gyre's rotation is determined by the prevailing winds in the region, with the large subtropical gyres rotating clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.