[ hwurl, hwawrl, wurl, wawrl ]
/ ʰwɜrl, ʰwɔrl, wɜrl, wɔrl /
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a circular arrangement of like parts, as leaves or flowers, around a point on an axis; verticil.
one of the turns or volutions of a spiral shell.
anything shaped like a coil.
one of the central ridges of a fingerprint, forming at least one complete circle.
Textiles. a flywheel or pulley, as for a spindle.



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Origin of whorl

1425–75; late Middle English whorle, whorvil, wharwyl,Old English hwyrfel, equivalent to hweorfa whorl of a spindle + -el noun suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for whorl

British Dictionary definitions for whorl

/ (wɜːl) /


botany a radial arrangement of three or more petals, stamens, leaves, etc, around a stem
zoology a single turn in a spiral shell
one of the basic patterns of the human fingerprint, formed by several complete circular ridges one inside anotherCompare arch 1 (def. 4b), loop 1 (def. 10a)
anything shaped like a coil

Derived forms of whorl

whorled, adjective

Word Origin for whorl

C15: probably variant of wherville whirl, influenced by Dutch worvel
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

Medical definitions for whorl

[ wôrl, wûrl ]


A form that coils or spirals; a curl or swirl.
A turn of the cochlea or of the ethmoidal crest.
An area of hair growing in a radial manner.
One of the circular ridges or convolutions of a fingerprint.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for whorl

[ hwôrl, wôrl, hwûrl, wûrl ]

An arrangement of three or more appendages radiating in a circular or spiral arrangement from a point on a plant, as leaves around the node of a stem. The sepals, petals, stamens, and carpels of angiosperms form four separate whorls within a complete flower.
A single turn of a spiral shell of a mollusk.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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