vortex

[ vawr-teks ]
/ ˈvɔr tɛks /

noun, plural vor·tex·es, vor·ti·ces [vawr-tuh-seez] /ˈvɔr təˌsiz/.

a whirling mass of water, especially one in which a force of suction operates, as a whirlpool.
a whirling mass of air, especially one in the form of a visible column or spiral, as a tornado.See also polar vortex.
a whirling mass of fire, flame, etc.
a state of affairs likened to a whirlpool for violent activity, irresistible force, etc.
something regarded as drawing into its powerful current everything that surrounds it: the vortex of war.
(in Cartesian philosophy) a rapid rotatory movement of cosmic matter about a center, regarded as accounting for the origin or phenomena of bodies or systems of bodies in space.

Nearby words

  1. voroshilovsk,
  2. vorpal,
  3. vorspiel,
  4. vorster,
  5. vorster, balthazar johannes,
  6. vortex drag,
  7. vortex ring,
  8. vortex shedding,
  9. vortex street,
  10. vortex vein

Origin of vortex

1645–55; < Latin, variant of vertex vertex

Can be confusedvertex vortex

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vortex


British Dictionary definitions for vortex

vortex

/ (ˈvɔːtɛks) /

noun plural -texes or -tices (-tɪˌsiːz)

a whirling mass or rotary motion in a liquid, gas, flame, etc, such as the spiralling movement of water around a whirlpool
any activity, situation, or way of life regarded as irresistibly engulfing
Derived Formsvortical, adjectivevortically, adverb

Word Origin for vortex

C17: from Latin: a whirlpool; variant of vertex

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 vortex

vortex

n.

1650s, "whirlpool, eddying mass," from Latin vortex, variant of vertex "an eddy of water, wind, or flame; whirlpool; whirlwind," from stem of vertere "to turn" (see versus). Plural form is vortices. Became prominent in 17c. theories of astrophysics (by Descartes, etc.). In reference to human affairs, it is attested from 1761. Vorticism as a movement in British arts and literature is attested from 1914, coined by Ezra Pound.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for vortex

vortex

[ vôrtĕks′ ]

n. pl. vor•tex•es

A spiral motion of fluid within a limited area, especially a whirling mass of water or air that sucks everything near it toward its center.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for vortex

vortex

[ vôrtĕks′ ]

Plural vortexes vortices (vôrtĭ-sēz′)

A circular, spiral, or helical motion in a fluid (such as a gas) or the fluid in such a motion. A vortex often forms around areas of low pressure and attracts the fluid (and the objects moving within it) toward its center. Tornados are examples of vortexes; vortexes that form around flying objects are a source of turbulence and drag. See also eddy.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.