[ vawr-teks ]
See synonyms for: vortexvortices on Thesaurus.com

noun,plural vor·ti·ces [vawr-tuh-seez], /ˈvɔr təˌsiz/, vor·tex·es.
  1. a whirling mass of water, especially one in which a force of suction operates, as a whirlpool.

  2. a whirling mass of air, especially one in the form of a visible column or spiral, as a tornado.: See also polar vortex.

  1. a whirling mass of fire, flame, etc.

  2. a state of affairs likened to a whirlpool for violent activity, irresistible force, etc.

  3. something regarded as drawing into its powerful current everything that surrounds it: the vortex of war.

  4. (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.

Origin of vortex

First recorded in 1645–55; from Latin, variant of vertex vertex

Words that may be confused with vortex

Words Nearby vortex

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use vortex in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for vortex


/ (ˈvɔːtɛks) /

nounplural -texes or -tices (-tɪˌsiːz)
  1. a whirling mass or rotary motion in a liquid, gas, flame, etc, such as the spiralling movement of water around a whirlpool

  2. any activity, situation, or way of life regarded as irresistibly engulfing

Origin of vortex

C17: from Latin: a whirlpool; variant of vertex

Derived forms of vortex

  • vortical, adjective
  • vortically, adverb

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

Scientific definitions for vortex


[ vôrtĕks′ ]

Plural vortexes vortices (vôrtĭ-sēz′)
  1. 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.