Whirl v. Whorl

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Whirl and whorl are two words that are pronounced in the same manner but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the definitions of whirl and whorl, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Whirl means a quick movement going round and round or a flurry of activity, or to move quickly, going round and round or to frantically participate in an activity. Whirl is used as a noun or a verb, related words are whirls, whirled, whirling, whirler. The word whirl is derived from the Old Norse word hvirfla which means to turn about.

A whorl is a pattern of circles or spirals. Whorl may also refer to a complete circle in a fingerprint. Fingerprints as a method of identification was first suggested by Dr. Henry Faulds, a Scottish surgeon, in 1880. Faulds pioneered the idea of using ink to record fingerprints. The Argentine police chief, Juan Vucetich, was the first to record fingerprints and create a database. The word whorl is derived from the word whirl and was first recorded in the 1550s.


AFTER winning the Editions Liverpool Open Art competition last month, Carol Miller admitted she was in a bit of a whirl. (St. Helens Star)

There also are five Oster blenders waiting to whirl fruit, peanut butter and protein power into liquid meals at a DIY smoothie bar. (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

The frightening feeling caused by the finality of the moment and the whirl of accompanying emotions sapped his strength. (The Jamaica Gleaner)

Not only do we find in any particular whorl the leaves exactly fill the space without any overlapping but we find each circle twisted so that the leaves of the upper one are exactly above the space below, so that each whorl gets as much air and light as is necessary. (The Midlothian Advertiser)

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