swirl / swərl/ •
v. [intr.] move in a twisting or spiraling pattern: the smoke was swirling around him | [as adj.] (swirling) fig. a flood of swirling emotions. ∎ [tr.] cause to move in such a pattern: swirl a little cream into the soup.•
n. a quantity of something moving in such a pattern: swirls of dust swept across the floor. ∎ a twisting or spiraling movement or pattern: she emerged with a swirl of skirts swirls of color.DERIVATIVES: swirl·y adj.
An enigmatic, light-coloured marking on a satellite
or planetary surface. Swirls have no topographic relief. Examples are known from Mercury
and the Moon
(Reiner Gamma). They appear to be antipodal to major impact structures. The Reiner Gamma swirl is associated with strong surface magnetization. It has been suggested that some may be cometary impact sites.
whirlpool XV; twist, whirling motion XVIII. orig. Sc., perh. of LG. or Du. orig. (cf. Du. zwirrelen
whirl) and frequent. formation (cf. -LE3
) on the imit. base seen in MLG. swirren
, G. schwirren
, Da. svirre
objects that move rapidly in a circle or in a whirling motion, 1858.
Examples : swirl of rain clouds, 1853; of flame, 1861; of sea, 1871; of wood smoke, 1894.