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A pinwheel toy.
Artificial-flower-type pinwheel pastries filled with dough and folded into their characteristic shape.
Two spiral-type pinwheel cookies.


pin +‎ wheel


pinwheel (plural pinwheels)

  1. An artificial flower with a stem, usually plastic, for children: the flower spins round in the wind, like a small paper windmill.
  2. A firework which forms a kind of spinning wheel.
    • 1992, Joyce Carol Oates, Black Water, Penguin Books, paperback edition, page 125:
      The sun blazing late in the afternoon, this long hilarious day like a pinwheel inexhaustibly throwing off sparks.
  3. A cogged (toothed) gear.
  4. A pastry which resembles the artificial flowers above, with some filling or topping in the center.
  5. Any food product consisting of layers (for example of pastry and sweet filling, or of bread and meat) rolled into a spiral, visually similar to a cinnamon roll.



pinwheel (third-person singular simple present pinwheels, present participle pinwheeling, simple past and past participle pinwheeled)

  1. To spin.
    The damaged fighter jet pinwheeled out of control, the g forces pushing the pilot so hard he couldn't reach the ejection switch.
    • 2012, John Branch, “Snow Fall : The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek”, in New York Time[1]:
      The laws of physics and chemistry transform a meadow of fine powder into a wreckage of icy chunks. Saugstad’s pinwheeling body would freeze into whatever position it was in the moment the snow stopped.