Definition of eddy in English:


Line breaks: eddy
Pronunciation: /ˈɛdi

noun (plural eddies)

  • 1A circular movement of water causing a small whirlpool: the current was forming foam-lipped eddies along the bank eddies of controversy swirled around his theories
    More example sentences
    • A strong flow in the middle of the channel breaks into whirlpools and back eddies along both sides.
    • Along the bank I discovered quiet little eddies, water trickling between the stones with overhanging Myrtles, the sun sparkling on a pool when it could squeeze through the branches and leaves.
    • We made a hasty exit back up to the beach and, before long, the water was once again a maelstrom of ever-widening rips, eddies and whirlpools.
    swirl, whirlpool, vortex, maelstrom; countercurrent, counterflow
    North American informal suckhole
    literary Charybdis
  • 1.1A circular movement of wind, fog, or smoke: an eddy of chill air swirled into the carriage
    More example sentences
    • Tiny eddies of smoke escaped from the edges of the bark, then succumb to the heat of the flames.
    • Eventually we could smell it in the air and hear it trickling beneath the eddies of wind.
    • A street cleaner already cleans the main thoroughfares but wind eddies can blow drifts of crisp packets and chocolate wrappers into alleys and hedges, he said.

verb (eddies, eddying, eddied)

[no object, with adverbial of direction] Back to top  
  • (Of water, air, or smoke) move in a circular way: the mists from the river eddied round the banks
    More example sentences
    • Billowing clouds of steam and smoke drifted and eddied, obscuring then revealing the tormented reddish rock of the opposite wall.
    • He lit the tobacco in the pipe and blew a soft grey circle of smoke, which eddied and floated away on the currents of the wind like a bird taken to flight.
    • Snow fell, one tiny flake in every cubic metre of air, the beck ran clear but a foot or two across, dancing round the boulders, eddying at roots and skidding over smooth slabs of sandstone.
    swirl, whirl, spiral, wind, churn, swish, circulate, revolve, spin, twist; flow, ripple, stream, surge, seethe, billow, foam, froth, boil, ferment


late Middle English: probably from the Germanic base of the Old English prefix ed- 'again, back'.

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tease (someone) playfully