A pinwheel is a spinning toy that looks like a flower on a stick. Blow on it or run through the garden with one and watch it spin. Some things, like peppermints, have a pinwheel pattern.

A pinwheel is a stick with twisted paper or plastic pieces that turn as they catch the wind. The original pinwheel, first called a whirligig, was invented in the nineteenth century by a woman who imagined children running while holding them in the air, which is exactly how pinwheels are usually played with. Before the toy, a pinwheel was a gear in a train's mechanism, and also a spinning firework also called a Catherine wheel.

Definitions of pinwheel

n a toy consisting of vanes of colored paper or plastic that is pinned to a stick and spins when it is pointed into the wind

pinwheel wind collector
Type of:
plaything, toy
an artifact designed to be played with

n a circular firework that spins round and round emitting colored fire

catherine wheel
Type of:
firework, pyrotechnic
(usually plural) a device with an explosive that burns at a low rate and with colored flames; can be used to illuminate areas or send signals etc.

n a wheel that has numerous pins that are set at right angles to its rim

“he spun the pinwheel and it stopped with the pointer on `Go'”
Type of:
a simple machine consisting of a circular frame with spokes (or a solid disc) that can rotate on a shaft or axle (as in vehicles or other machines)

n perennial subshrub of Tenerife having leaves in rosettes resembling pinwheels

Aeonium haworthii
Type of:
subshrub, suffrutex
low-growing woody shrub or perennial with woody base

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.