[ wurl, hwurl ]
See synonyms for: whirlwhirledwhirling on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
  1. to turn around, spin, or rotate rapidly: The merry-go-round whirled noisily.

  2. to turn about or aside quickly: He whirled and faced his pursuers.

  1. to move, travel, or be carried rapidly along: She whirled along the freeway in her new car.

  2. 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.

  2. to send, drive, or carry in a circular or curving course.

  1. to drive, send, or carry along with great or dizzying rapidity.

  2. Obsolete. to hurl.

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

  2. a whirling movement; quick turn or swing.

  1. a short drive, run, walk, or the like; spin.

  2. something that whirls; a whirling current or mass.

  3. a rapid round of events, affairs, etc.: a whirl of meetings, conferences, and business lunches.

  4. a state marked by dizziness or a dizzying succession of feelings, thoughts, etc.

  5. 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?

  6. Machinery. whip (def. 26).

Origin of whirl

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

Other words for whirl

Other words from whirl

  • whirl·er, noun
  • whirl·ing·ly, adverb
  • out·whirl, verb (used with object)
  • un·whirled, adjective

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

How to use whirl in a sentence

  • I do not know what I think; all my thoughts seem whirling round as leaves do in brooks in the time of the spring rains.

    Ramona | Helen Hunt Jackson
  • At first I used to think the effect of so many people whirling round in the same direction dizzying and monotonous.

  • Our poor planet will be but a silent ghost whirling on its dark path in the starlight.

  • He saw the swans floating like bundles of dry paper, he saw the whirling sea-gulls, he obtained his former room.

    The Wave | Algernon Blackwood
  • The keen wind found me out and seemed to take joy in rushing in on me in biting gusts and then whirling away over the flat.

British Dictionary definitions for whirl


/ (wɜːl) /

  1. to spin, turn, or revolve or cause to spin, turn, or revolve

  2. (intr) to turn around or away rapidly

  1. (intr) to have a spinning sensation, as from dizziness, etc

  2. 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

  1. a swift round, as of events, meetings, etc

  2. a tumult; stir

  3. informal a brief trip, dance, etc

  4. give something a whirl informal to attempt or give a trial to something

Origin of whirl

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

Derived forms of whirl

  • whirler, noun
  • whirling, adjective
  • whirlingly, 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with whirl


see give something a whirl.

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