Definition of swirl in English:


Syllabification: swirl
Pronunciation: /swərl


[no object]
1Move in a twisting or spiraling pattern: the smoke was swirling around him (as adjective swirling) figurative a flood of swirling emotions
More example sentences
  • My blood was swirling in a spiral pattern, before finally mixing with the water and turning it red.
  • Shawn's whole world swirled, and twisted, making him want to throw up, but he stayed conscious.
  • This fish had other ideas, it twisted and swirled but slowly inch by inch it came to the landing net.
whirl, eddy, billow, spiral, circulate, revolve, spin, twist;
flow, stream, surge, seethe
1.1 [with object] Cause to move in a twisting or spiraling pattern: swirl a little cream into the soup
More example sentences
  • Instead, she picked up a strawberry, swirled it in the cream and brought it to her mouth.
  • Sour cream swirls: swirl a dollop of sour cream or yogurt into thick soups.
  • By running a comb through the water the oil paints are swirled together to form a marble pattern.


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1A quantity of something moving in a swirl: swirls of dust swept across the floor
More example sentences
  • The road, where at points the wind raised swirls of white dust without itself being felt, was as lonely as though no one had ever been along it.
  • I heard the wind whisper as I stood there in the swirls of dust.
  • The occasional gust of wind sent little swirls of dust and debris flying through the air, and dead bodies littered the ground.
1.1A twisting or spiraling movement or pattern: she emerged with a swirl of skirts swirls of color
More example sentences
  • Here and there, a detail attracts more precise rendering; a hand, a face, a small insect emerge from the swirl of color.
  • I watched them drop a compound of powder in the vats and saw the swirls of colour turn the vats purple, or blue or any colour.
  • There was a swirl of movement in the dimly lit alcove.


late Middle English (originally Scots in the sense 'whirlpool'): perhaps of Low German or Dutch origin; compare with Dutch zwirrelen 'to whirl'.

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walk or travel at a leisurely pace