whir

or whirr

[hwur, wur]

verb (used without object), whirred, whir·ring.

to go, fly, revolve, or otherwise move quickly with a humming or buzzing sound: An electric fan whirred softly in the corner.

verb (used with object), whirred, whir·ring.

to move or transport (a thing, person, etc.) with a whirring sound: The plane whirred them away into the night.

noun

an act or sound of whirring: the whir of wings.

Origin of whir

1350–1400; Middle English quirre (Scots) < Scandinavian; compare Danish hvirre, Norwegian kvirra. See whirl

whirr

[hwur, wur]

verb (used with or without object), noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for whirred

Contemporary Examples of whirred

Historical Examples of whirred

  • It whirred gratefully; the clanking stopped and she tried again.

  • Insects hummed and shrilled, or whirred like a tiny orchestra.

    A Little Girl in Old Quebec

    Amanda Millie Douglas

  • They braced their feet, whirred, lifted unevenly, and sank back with a jar.

    Edge of the Jungle

    William Beebe

  • He was oblivious of the perilous steel that whirred and throbbed about him.

    The Shadow

    Arthur Stringer

  • But when he did he swore at the lions, softly, as he whirred by.

    Mr. Achilles

    Jennette Lee


British Dictionary definitions for whirred

whir

whirr

noun

a prolonged soft swish or buzz, as of a motor working or wings flapping
a bustle or rush

verb whirs, whirrs, whirring or whirred

to make or cause to make a whir

Word Origin for whir

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 whirred

whir

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper