A whirl is a quick spin, and when something whirls, it rotates fast. You can also use it to mean "a try." Hang-gliding? Snake-charming? "Sure," you say. "I'll give it a whirl."

Both whirl and spin are words that mean "turn in circles" but that have also come to mean trying something briefly––you might take a car for a spin or take a turn hiking in the Himalayas. All imply an attitude so free-wheeling, so easy, so devil-may-care that it might make your head spin. Or whirl.

Definitions of whirl
  1. noun
    the shape of something rotating rapidly
    synonyms: convolution, swirl, vortex
    see moresee less
    type of:
    round shape
    a shape that is curved and without sharp angles
  2. noun
    the act of rotating rapidly
    synonyms: spin, twirl, twist, twisting
    see moresee less
    (ballet) a rapid spin of the body (especially on the toes as in ballet)
    birling, logrolling
    rotating a log rapidly in the water (as a competitive sport)
    type of:
    rotary motion, rotation
    the act of rotating as if on an axis
  3. noun
    confused movement
    “he was caught up in a whirl of work”
    synonyms: commotion
    see moresee less
    type of:
    motion, movement
    a natural event that involves a change in the position or location of something
  4. noun
    a usually brief attempt
    “I gave it a whirl
    synonyms: crack, fling, go, offer, pass
    see moresee less
    type of:
    attempt, effort, endeavor, endeavour, try
    earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something
  5. verb
    turn in a twisting or spinning motion
    synonyms: swirl, twiddle, twirl
    see moresee less
    type of:
    go around, revolve, rotate
    turn on or around an axis or a center
  6. verb
    revolve quickly and repeatedly around one's own axis
    “The dervishes whirl around and around without getting dizzy”
    synonyms: gyrate, reel, spin, spin around
    see moresee less
    whirl or spin like a whirligig
    type of:
    go around, revolve, rotate
    turn on or around an axis or a center
  7. verb
    flow in a circular current, of liquids
    synonyms: eddy, purl, swirl, whirlpool
    see moresee less
    type of:
    course, feed, flow, run
    move along, of liquids
  8. verb
    fly around
    “rising smoke whirled in the air”
    synonyms: tumble, whirl around
    see moresee less
    type of:
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  9. verb
    cause to spin
    synonyms: birl, spin, twirl
    see moresee less
    type of:
    circumvolve, rotate
    cause to turn on an axis or center
Word Family