Definition of maelstrom in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmālˌsträm/


1A powerful whirlpool in the sea or a river.
Example sentences
  • Together they stood in the foretops and conned the ship in through the seething maelstrom of the equatorial current.
  • One lugworm and a thin strip of squid will not get very far in a seething maelstrom of a sea where the tide is screaming through and you have other anglers all around you.
  • He didn't fight, didn't even scream as the icy water flooded in and he was sucked down into the maelstrom.
whirlpool, vortex, eddy, swirl
literary Charybdis
1.1A situation or state of confused movement or violent turmoil: the train station was a maelstrom of crowds
More example sentences
  • My home usually seemed more like a maelstrom of chaos and disorder.
  • Now, astronomers have found further evidence that Centaurus A is a maelstrom of violence.
  • Different colors of mana spun and swirled in a maelstrom of colorful fury.
turbulence, tumult, turmoil, disorder, disarray, chaos, confusion, upheaval, pandemonium, bedlam, whirlwind


Late 17th century: from early modern Dutch (denoting a mythical whirlpool supposed to exist in the Arctic Ocean, west of Norway), from maalen 'grind, whirl' + stroom 'stream'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mael·strom

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