Share this entry

Share this page

swirl

Line breaks: swirl
Pronunciation: /swəːl
 
/

Definition of swirl in English:

verb

[no object]
1Move in a twisting or spiralling 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.
Synonyms
whirl, eddy, billow, spiral, wind, churn, swish, agitate, circulate, revolve, spin, twist, gyrate;
flow, ripple, stream, surge, seethe, foam, froth, boil, ferment
1.1 [with object] Cause to move in a twisting or spiralling 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.

noun

Back to top  
1A quantity of something moving in a twisting or spiralling pattern: 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 spiralling movement or pattern: she emerged with a swirl of skirts swirls of colour
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.

Origin

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

More
  • 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

Definition of swirl in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day resilient
Pronunciation: rɪˈzɪlɪənt
adjective
able to recoil or spring back into shape…