verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to rotate rapidly; spin; revolve; whirl.
  2. to twiddle: to twirl my thumbs.
  3. to wind idly, as about something.
verb (used without object)
  1. to rotate rapidly; whirl.
  2. to turn quickly so as to face or point in another direction.
  1. an act or instance of twirling; spin; whirl.
  2. something convoluted or having a spiral shape; coil; curl; convolution.

Origin of twirl

First recorded in 1590–1600; tw(ist) + (wh)irl
Related formsun·twirled, adjectiveun·twirl·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for twirling

whirl, rotate, spin, gyrate, pivot, wheel, gyre, twist, turn, revolve, wind, pirouette, whirligig, purl

Examples from the Web for twirling

Contemporary Examples of twirling

Historical Examples of twirling

British Dictionary definitions for twirling


  1. to move or cause to move around rapidly and repeatedly in a circle
  2. (tr) to twist, wind, or twiddle, often idlyshe twirled her hair around her finger
  3. (intr; often foll by around or about) to turn suddenly to face another wayshe twirled around angrily to face him
  1. an act of rotating or being rotated; whirl or twist
  2. something wound around or twirled; coil
  3. a written flourish or squiggle
Derived Formstwirler, noun

Word Origin for twirl

C16: perhaps a blend of twist + whirl
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 twirling


1590s (n. and v.), of uncertain origin, possibly connected with Old English þwirl "a stirrer." Or else a blend of twist and whirl. Related: Twirled; twirling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper