[hwurl-wind, wurl-]
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  1. any of several relatively small masses of air rotating rapidly around a more or less vertical axis and advancing simultaneously over land or sea, as a dust devil, tornado, or waterspout.
  2. anything resembling a whirlwind, as in violent action or destructive force.
  3. any circling rush or violent onward course.
  1. like a whirlwind, as in speed or force: a whirlwind visit to New York.
verb (used without object)
  1. to move or travel quickly.
  1. reap the whirlwind, to suffer the penalties for one's misdeeds. Hos. 8:7.

Origin of whirlwind

1300–50; Middle English < Old Norse hvirfilvindr; cognate with German Wirbelwind

Synonyms for whirlwind

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for whirlwind


  1. a column of air whirling around and towards a more or less vertical axis of low pressure, which moves along the land or ocean surface
    1. a motion or course resembling this, esp in rapidity
    2. (as modifier)a whirlwind romance
  2. an impetuously active person
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 whirlwind

mid-14c., from whirl (v.) + wind (n.), probably on model of Old Norse hvirfilvindr.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper