• synonyms


or whirr

[hwur, wur]
See more synonyms for whir on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), whirred, whir·ring.
  1. to go, fly, revolve, or otherwise move quickly with a humming or buzzing sound: An electric fan whirred softly in the corner.
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verb (used with object), whirred, whir·ring.
  1. to move or transport (a thing, person, etc.) with a whirring sound: The plane whirred them away into the night.
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  1. an act or sound of whirring: the whir of wings.
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Origin of whir

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


[hwur, wur]
verb (used with or without object), noun
  1. whir.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for whirred

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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



  1. a prolonged soft swish or buzz, as of a motor working or wings flapping
  2. a bustle or rush
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verb whirs, whirrs, whirring or whirred
  1. to make or cause to make a whir
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Word Origin

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



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper