- any of various machines for grinding, pumping, etc., driven by the force of the wind acting upon a number of vanes or sails.
- (loosely) a wind generator; wind plant.
- Aeronautics. a small air turbine with blades, like those of an airplane propeller, exposed on a moving aircraft and driven by the air, used to operate gasoline pumps, radio apparatus, etc.
- an imaginary opponent, wrong, etc. (in allusion to Cervantes' Don Quixote): to tilt at windmills.
- Aeronautics. (of a propeller engine or turbojet engine) to rotate or cause to rotate solely under the force of a passing airstream.
Origin of windmill
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for windmill
Not far from his grandmother's residence there was a windmill which operated on a new plan.Biographical Stories
Quite a pastoral scene, with a background of river and windmill!The Uncommercial Traveller
Made some desperate conquests for his lady-love, and was defeated by a windmill.Who Was Who: 5000 B. C. to Date
He didn't mean for you to turn yourself into a windmill, that's sartin sure.'The Depot Master
Joseph C. Lincoln
But you can make flour IN a windmill, 'cause I've seen it done.Shavings
Joseph C. Lincoln
- a machine for grinding or pumping driven by a set of adjustable vanes or sails that are caused to turn by the force of the wind
- the set of vanes or sails that drives such a mill
- Also called: whirligig British a toy consisting of plastic or paper vanes attached to a stick in such a manner that they revolve like the sails of a windmillUS and Canadian name: pinwheel
- an imaginary opponent or evil (esp in the phrase tilt at or fight windmills)
- a small air-driven propeller fitted to a light aircraft to drive auxiliary equipmentCompare ram-air turbine
- an informal name for helicopter
- an informal name for propeller (def. 1)
- to move or cause to move like the arms of a windmill
- an informal name for accommodation bill
- (intr) (of an aircraft propeller, rotor of a turbine, etc) to rotate as a result of the force of a current of air rather than under power
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 windmill
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Idioms and Phrases with windmill
see tilt at windmills.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.