Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Middle English whirlegigge.
whirligig (plural whirligigs)
- Anything that whirls or spins around, such as a toy top.
- A whirligig beetle.
- A device for punishing prisoners comprising a wooden cage that rapidly spins around.
- 1600-1, William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
- And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.