[ toor-bil-yuhn; French toor-bee-yawn ]

  1. 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.

  2. a firework that rises spirally: Between two spectacular pinwheels, they launched a series of silvery tourbillons.

Origin of tourbillon

First recorded in 1470–80; earlier turbilloun, from Middle French to(u)rbillon, from unattested Vulgar Latin turbiliōnem, dissimilated variant of turbiniōnem, accusative of turbiniō “whirlwind”; see turbine, -ion
  • Sometimes tour·bil·lion [toor-bil-yuhn] /tʊərˈbɪl yən/ .

Words Nearby tourbillon Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use tourbillon in a sentence

  • The organisation of the body, the arrangement of its solids and liquids, is adapted to further the tourbillon vital.

    Form and Function | E. S. (Edward Stuart) Russell
  • I have known before what it is to be in what our neighbours have called a tourbillon, but never on such a scale as this.

    Danger! and Other Stories | Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Father was capital as the French usher tourbillon; and the whole thing went splendidly.

    The Story of My Life | Ellen Terry
  • Le tourbillon, l'ouragan, tous les diables dechains qui veulent bien emporter votre chteau.

  • A new face arose, the pretty Leontine von Morien, the tourbillon of the princely court at Rheinsberg, who pined away in sighs.

    Old Fritz and the New Era | Louise Muhlbach