View synonyms for whirlwind


[ hwurl-wind, wurl- ]


  1. Meteorology. a relatively small mass of air rotating rapidly around a more or less vertical axis and simultaneously advancing over land or sea: specific categories of whirlwind include dust devil, dust whirl, tornado, and waterspout:

    The sails were carried up to the mastheads by the force of the whirlwind.

  2. anything resembling a whirlwind, as in violent action or destructive force:

    a fiery whirlwind of shrapnel.

  3. someone or something characterized by great energy or swiftness, often with an atmosphere of chaos:

    a staff of three do-nothings and one whirlwind; a whirlwind of activity at the stock exchange.


  1. like a whirlwind, as in speed or force:

    a whirlwind visit to New York.

    Synonyms: impulsive, hasty, breakneck, headlong

verb (used without object)

  1. to move or travel quickly:

    You can't just whirlwind in and out of their lives and expect them to be OK with that.


/ ˈwɜːlˌwɪnd /


  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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of whirlwind1

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English, from Old Norse hvirfilvindr; cognate with German Wirbelwind

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. (sow the wind and) reap the whirlwind, to suffer the penalties for one's misdeeds. Hosea 8:7.

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Example Sentences

The holiday season is set to be a whirlwind, and there’s no time left to pivot, but Amazon is a good place to be at this time.

From Digiday

It’s a heart-wrenching choice not to spend the holidays with your loved ones, especially after this whirlwind of a year, but unfortunately in pandemic times, the safest thing to do is stay apart.

From Vox

Alas, I live in Los Angeles, and even if I lived in New York, now doesn’t seem like the best time to be having a whirlwind love story with someone I’ve never met.

From Vox

To eliminate it is to court the whirlwind of governance — to accept that your opponents may win elections, to risk their agenda passing into law.

From Vox

At our center, which comprises nothing, like the hollowness in the middle of a whirlwind, we fall back into the world.

He talks about a whirlwind weekend-long affair with a man he met at a club in Berlin.

Well known for his inability to say no to worthy causes, Palmer has always been a whirlwind of good works.

After a whirlwind romance, Sarkozy quickly married Bruni in February 2008.

Later that month he was making his first whirlwind foreign trip to identify countries that might be willing to take detainees.

This year has been a whirlwind for Kate Bosworth—featuring a new movie, new design collaboration, and even a new husband.

They burst out of the mouth of the canyon, a smoke-wreathed whirlwind, heading for the protection of the river.

She took one look, then struck her horse a sharp blow and, like a whirlwind, came upon the scene.

With regard to the Whirlwind, perhaps it might correspond better to Dors picture; it has not turned out quite what I wanted.

Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as in a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath.

Meanwhile the leading Apaches, not now more than fifty in number, were swept along by the same whirlwind of brute instinct.


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.




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