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.


Back to top  
  • 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'.

More definitions of swirl

Definition of swirl in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day mage
Pronunciation: meɪdʒ
a magician or learned person