[ pin-hwee-ling, -wee- ]
/ ˈpɪnˌʰwi lɪŋ, -ˌwi- /

noun U.S. Nautical.

the act of turning a multiple-screw ship within a minimum radius by having some engines going forward and others going in reverse.


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Origin of pinwheeling

Definition for pinwheeling (2 of 2)


or pin wheel

[ pin-hweel, -weel ]
/ ˈpɪnˌʰwil, -ˌwil /


a child's toy consisting of a wheel or leaflike curls of paper or plastic loosely attached by a pin to a stick, designed to revolve when blown by or as by the wind.
Also called catherine wheel. a kind of firework supported on a pin which, when ignited, revolves rapidly and gives a dazzling display of light.
a wheel having pins at right angles to its rim for engaging the teeth of a gear.

verb (used without object)

to revolve rapidly like a pinwheel: Images of the past pinwheeled through his mind.

Origin of pinwheel

First recorded in 1695–1705; pin + wheel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for pinwheeling

  • The concussion hit Johnny like a fist, pinwheeling him backwards in the rocker against the wall of the house.

  • But the trouble was unknown, and they might end up rifling or pinwheeling if they didn't let bad enough alone.

    Tight Squeeze|Dean Charles Ing

British Dictionary definitions for pinwheeling

/ (ˈpɪnˌwiːl) /


another name for Catherine wheel (def. 1)
a cogwheel whose teeth are formed by small pins projecting either axially or radially from the rim of the wheel
US and Canadian a toy consisting of plastic or paper vanes attached to a stick in such a manner that they revolve like the sails of a windmillAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): windmill, whirligig
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