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tourbillion

[too r-bil-yuh n]
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noun
  1. a whirlwind or something resembling a whirlwind.
  2. a firework that rises spirally.
  3. 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.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

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

Examples from the Web for tourbillion

Historical Examples

  • Cover it with two thicknesses of pasted paper, like the tourbillion.

    The Pyrotechnist's Treasury

    Thomas Kentish


British Dictionary definitions for tourbillion

tourbillion

noun
  1. a rare word for whirlwind
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Word Origin

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