whir

The softly vibrating sound of something moving fast is a whir. The whir of a hummingbird's wings up close sounds a lot like a buzzing insect.

Whir is one of those words like buzz, clink, and oink that sound exactly like what they mean; this effect is called onomatopoeia. You can use this one as a noun or a verb, so while your ceiling fan whirs overhead on a hot day, the whir of insects reminds you to close the window screen.

Definitions of whir
  1. noun
    the sound of something in rapid motion
    whir of a bird's wings”
    “the whir of the propellers”
    synonyms: birr, whirr, whirring
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    type of:
    sound
    the sudden occurrence of an audible event
  2. verb
    make a soft swishing sound
    “the motor whirred
    synonyms: birr, purr, whirr, whiz, whizz
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    type of:
    go, sound
    make a certain noise or sound
Word Family