View synonyms for whirl


[ wurl, hwurl ]

verb (used without object)

  1. to turn around, spin, or rotate rapidly:

    The merry-go-round whirled noisily.

    Synonyms: pirouette, gyrate

  2. to turn about or aside quickly:

    He whirled and faced his pursuers.

  3. to move, travel, or be carried rapidly along:

    She whirled along the freeway in her new car.

  4. to feel as though spinning rapidly; reel as from dizziness:

    My head began to whirl.

verb (used with object)

  1. to cause to turn around, spin, or rotate rapidly.

    Synonyms: wheel, twirl, revolve

  2. to send, drive, or carry in a circular or curving course.
  3. to drive, send, or carry along with great or dizzying rapidity.
  4. Obsolete. to hurl.


  1. the act of whirling; rapid rotation or gyration.

    Synonyms: revolution, spin

  2. a whirling movement; quick turn or swing.
  3. a short drive, run, walk, or the like; spin.
  4. something that whirls; a whirling current or mass.
  5. a rapid round of events, affairs, etc.:

    a whirl of meetings, conferences, and business lunches.

  6. a state marked by dizziness or a dizzying succession of feelings, thoughts, etc.
  7. an attempt or trial, especially one undertaken tentatively or experimentally:

    Even if you don't agree with my plan, won't you give it a whirl?

    Synonyms: whack, fling, go, try

  8. Machinery. whip ( def 26 ).


/ wɜːl /


  1. to spin, turn, or revolve or cause to spin, turn, or revolve
  2. intr to turn around or away rapidly
  3. intr to have a spinning sensation, as from dizziness, etc
  4. to move or drive or be moved or driven at high speed


  1. the act or an instance of whirling; swift rotation or a rapid whirling movement
  2. a condition of confusion or giddiness

    her accident left me in a whirl

  3. a swift round, as of events, meetings, etc
  4. a tumult; stir
  5. informal.
    a brief trip, dance, etc
  6. give something a whirl informal.
    to attempt or give a trial to something
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Derived Forms

  • ˈwhirler, noun
  • ˈwhirling, adjective
  • ˈwhirlingly, adverb
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Other Words From

  • whirl·er noun
  • whirl·ing·ly adverb
  • out·whirl verb (used with object)
  • un·whirled adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of whirl1

1250–1300; Middle English whirlen < Old Norse hvirfla to whirl, akin to Old English hwyrflung turning, revolving, hwyrfel circuit; whorl
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Word History and Origins

Origin of whirl1

C13: from Old Norse hvirfla to turn about; related to Old High German wirbil whirlwind
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Idioms and Phrases

see give something a whirl .
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Example Sentences

Viewers are surrounded by a whirl of images in which it’s impossible to distinguish real from unreal.

I think within the next 10 years, we ought to be able to predict where fire whirls are likely to form.

It was a giant fire whirl with winds over 100 miles per hour.

Cambage is a whirl of drop-steps, shoulder shoves and jump hooks, her 6-foot-8 frame affording her whatever space she requires.

It all makes sense in the whirl of Ide’s fate-driven universe.

The dying are deceived by the chemical whirl of “a dying brain.”

I never lifted a brush before, I never mixed a paint, so I gave it a whirl.

A whirl of activity on and off the slopes, Kathy heads the local chapter of Disabled Sports, Eastern Sierra region.

Ted Widmer on the whirl of celebrity and policy that dance across the pages.

Sajed fearlessly slapped on the rollerblades to give them a whirl, and a skater was born.

Then dawn flung itself impetuously across the hills, and the naked rim of the canyon took form in a shifting whirl of smoke.

They are, however, much less energetic, and often of greater size than the hurricane whirl.

They could revel in the rugged measures of ‘Marmion,’ in the whirl and clatter of the ‘Last Minstrel.’

Fragments were spun off the whirl of people, bits of BSG uniforms torn off their wearers and tossed like confetti.

Her life at this time was a whirl of excitement—excitement of the keenest order—namely, trying on.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.