• synonyms


or whirr

[hwur, wur]
See more synonyms for whir on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), whirred, whir·ring.
  1. to go, fly, revolve, or otherwise move quickly with a humming or buzzing sound: An electric fan whirred softly in the corner.
Show More
verb (used with object), whirred, whir·ring.
  1. to move or transport (a thing, person, etc.) with a whirring sound: The plane whirred them away into the night.
Show More
  1. an act or sound of whirring: the whir of wings.
Show More

Origin of whir

1350–1400; Middle English quirre (Scots) < Scandinavian; compare Danish hvirre, Norwegian kvirra. See whirl
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for whir

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He was prepared for the whir of the dial now but still it frightened him a little.

  • For a long time I heard nothing but the whir and roar of the fire.


    Joseph Conrad

  • It flared there, with noises like the whir of wings, with rumbles as of thunder.


    Joseph Conrad

  • We hear the whir of the crescent-shaped arms opening as they descend.

    With The Night Mail

    Rudyard Kipling

  • They were deep in the forest when they heard a whir overhead.

    The Rover Boys on a Hunt

    Arthur M. Winfield (Edward Stratemeyer)

British Dictionary definitions for whir



  1. a prolonged soft swish or buzz, as of a motor working or wings flapping
  2. a bustle or rush
Show More
verb whirs, whirrs, whirring or whirred
  1. to make or cause to make a whir
Show More

Word Origin

C14: probably from Scandinavian; compare Norwegian kvirra, Danish hvirre; see 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 whir


c.1400, Scottish, "fling, hurl," probably from Old Norse hvirfla, frequentative of hverfa "to turn" (see wharf). Cf. Danish hvirvle, Dutch wervelen, German wirbeln "to whirl." Related: Whirred; whirring.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper