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Rhymes: -ɜː(r)l


whorl (plural whorls)

  1. A pattern of concentric circles.
  2. (botany) A circle of three or more leaves, flowers, or other organs, about the same part or joint of a stem.
  3. (zoology) A volution, or turn, of the spire of a univalve shell.
  4. (anatomy) Any volution, as for example in the human ear.
  5. (archaic) A flywheel, a weight attached to a spindle (attested in English from 1460)



whorl (third-person singular simple present whorls, present participle whorling, simple past and past participle whorled)

  1. (intransitive) To form a pattern of concentric circles.
    • 2008 February 12, Jennifer Dunning, “Modern Style, Old-Fashioned Virtues”, in New York Times[1]:
      “Waves Against the Sand,” to music by Martinu, which opened the program, filled the stage space with whorling patterns of dancers surging with the gentle but ceaseless momentum of the sea.