Definition of swirl in English:

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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.


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'.

  • Swirl was originally Scots in the sense ‘whirlpool’. The word may be Low German or Dutch in origin, related to Dutch zwirrelen ‘to whirl’.

Words that rhyme with swirl

birl, burl, churl, curl, earl, Erle, furl, girl, herl, hurl, knurl, merle, pas seul, pearl, purl, Searle, skirl, squirl, twirl, whirl, whorl

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: swirl

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