gyre vs whorl what difference

what is difference between gyre and whorl



  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /dʒaɪ.ə/
  • (General American) enPR: jīər IPA(key): /dʒaɪ.ɚ/
  • Rhymes: -aɪə(ɹ)
  • Hyphenation: gy‧re

Etymology 1

Borrowed from Latin gȳrus (circle; circular motion), from Ancient Greek γῦρος (gûros, circle; ring), from Proto-Indo-European *gew- (to bend; to curve). The English word is a doublet of gyro and gyrus.


gyre (plural gyres)

  1. (chiefly literary, poetic)
    1. A swirling vortex.
    2. A circular or spiral motion; also, a circle described by a moving body; a revolution, a turn.
      Synonyms: circuit, whirl
  2. (anatomy, zootomy, archaic) Synonym of gyrus (a fold or ridge on the cerebral cortex of the brain)
  3. (oceanography) An ocean current caused by wind which moves in a circular manner, especially one that is large-scale and observed in a major ocean.
Derived terms
  • gyral
  • gyrally
  • gyreful (obsolete, rare)
Related terms

Etymology 2

From Late Middle English giren (to turn (something) away; to cause (something) to revolve or rotate; to travel in a circle), from Old French girer (to turn), and directly from its etymon Latin gȳrāre, the present active infinitive of gȳrō (to turn in a circle, rotate; to circle or revolve around), from gȳrus (circle; circular motion) (see etymology 1) + (suffix forming regular first-conjugation verbs).


gyre (third-person singular simple present gyres, present participle gyring, simple past and past participle gyred) (literary, poetic)

  1. (intransitive) To spin around; to gyrate, to whirl.
    Synonyms: revolve, rotate
  2. (transitive, rare) To make (something) spin or whirl around; to spin, to whirl.
Derived terms
  • gyring (adjective, noun)
  • gyringly


Further reading

  • ocean gyre on Wikipedia.Wikipedia


  • -ergy, Grey, grey




  1. vocative singular of gȳrus



From alteration of whirl (verb).


  • enPR: wûrl, IPA(key): /wɜː(ɹ)l/
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(r)l
  • Homophone: whirl


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 or fingerprint.
  5. A flywheel, a weight attached to a spindle. [from c. 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.


  • whorl in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • whorl in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • whorl, Glossary of Terms, American Rhododendron Society

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