Definition of pinwheel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpinˌ(h)wēl/
chiefly North American


1A child’s toy consisting of a stick with colored vanes that twirl in the wind.
Example sentences
  • Use a 1/2-inch piece of drinking straw as a spacer between the pinwheel and the stick.
  • They used pinwheels to create a mock wind farm in a prominent location on campus.
  • Tactics like putting a beach ball within the area they are disturbing and letting it blow in the wind and using scarecrows, balloons, and pinwheels can deter them.
1.1A fireworks device that whirls and emits colored fire.
Example sentences
  • As the first pinwheel of light burst, the sparks seemed to race forward to capture Emily.
  • As usual, we lashed firecrackers and pyrotechnics to the frame, stuffed a mortar in its mouth, and added a blazing pinwheel for the beast's eye.
  • We are near the edge of the pinwheel so we move pretty quickly.
1.2Something shaped or rotating like a pinwheel.
Example sentences
  • In it, two pinwheels of triangles are set inside the curves of a large horizontal S shape.
  • Roadmap-patterned wallpaper lined the elevator's interior, and an array of pinwheels and movable disk sculptures were laid out on shelves.
  • They do things that Streb finds real - moves called dominoes, slices, ex-flips, inside-outs, sparkles, pinwheels, sidelines, and slams.


[no object]
Spin or rotate like a pinwheel.
Example sentences
  • But to visit in the spring or fall, when millions of birds are pinwheeling through the heavens, is to realize that there are other, much older claims here, too.
  • Threatening or dishonest telegrams, or anonymous notes pushed under the door, set several plots pinwheeling.
  • She pinwheeled end-over-end and out of sight as I hopped up and down, holding my right foot and grimacing like Oliver Hardy.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pin·wheel

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