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.

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Origin of vortex

1645–55; <Latin, variant of vertexvertex

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH vortex

vertex, vortex .
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences 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 forms of vortex

vortical, 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

Medical 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.

Scientific 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.