whorl

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whorl / (h)wôrl/ • n. a coil or ring, in particular: ∎  Zool. each of the turns or convolutions in the shell of a gastropod or ammonoid mollusk. ∎  Bot. a set of leaves, flowers, or branches springing from the stem at the same level and encircling it. ∎  Bot. (in a flower) each of the sets of organs, esp. the petals and sepals, arranged concentrically around the receptacle. ∎  a complete circle in a fingerprint. ∎  chiefly hist. a small wheel or pulley in a spinning wheel, spinning machine, or spindle.• v. [intr.] poetic/lit. spiral or move in a twisted and convoluted fashion: the dances are kinetic kaleidoscopes where steps whorl into wildness.DERIVATIVES: whorled adj.

whorl

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whorl One of the coils in a molluscan shell. Whorls are most noticeable among Gastropoda and Cephalopoda, in which the shell is a hollow cone that grows only at the apertural end and tends to curl about its vertical axis. In most molluscs the coils form a helix in which each whorl is attached to the next, but in some the coiling is loose.

whorl

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whorl small fly-wheel or pulley in a spinning machine XV; ring of leaves, etc. round a stem XVI. Earliest forms wharwyl, whorwhil; prob. vars. of wherwille, WHIRL.

whorl

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whorl The arrangement in which leaves, petals, etc. all arise at the same point on an axis, encircling it.

whorl

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whorl See COILING.