[too r-bil-yuh n]


a whirlwind or something resembling a whirlwind.
a firework that rises spirally.
Horology. a frame for the escapement of a timepiece, especially a watch, geared to the going train in such a way as to rotate the escapement about once a minute in order to minimize positional error.

Compare karrusel.

Origin of tourbillion

1470–80; earlier turbilloun < Middle French to(u)rbillon < Vulgar Latin *turbiliōnem, dissimilated variant of *turbiniōnem, accusative of *turbiniō whirlwind. See turbine, -ion Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for tourbillion

whirlwind, whirlpool, spiral, eddy, waterspout, whirl, gyre, tornado, cyclone, twister

Examples from the Web for tourbillion

Historical Examples of tourbillion

British Dictionary definitions for tourbillion



a rare word for whirlwind

Word Origin for tourbillion

C15: from French tourbillon, ultimately from Latin turbō something that spins, from turbāre to confuse
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