• WordNet 3.6
    • n whorl a structure consisting of something wound in a continuous series of loops "a coil of rope"
    • n whorl a strand or cluster of hair
    • n whorl a round shape formed by a series of concentric circles (as formed by leaves or flower petals)
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Whorl (Bot) A circle of two or more leaves, flowers, or other organs, about the same part or joint of a stem.
    • Whorl (Zoöl) A volution, or turn, of the spire of a univalve shell.
    • Whorl (Spinning) The fly of a spindle.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n whorl In archaeology, one of certain round objects, sometimes slightly cup-shaped, which are frequently found in excavations. They usually carry marks or inscriptions, and are probably votive offerings. Dr. Schliemann found many thousand terra-cotta whorls in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth cities at Hissarlik. They have been found in Italy, Crete, and elsewhere.
    • n whorl In botany, a ring of organs all from the same node; a verticil. Every complete flower is externally formed of two whorls of leaves, constituting the floral envelop, or perianth; and internally of two or more other whorls of organs, constituting the organs of fructification. The term whorl by itself is generally applied to a circle of radiating leaves—an arrangement of more than two leaves around a common center, upon the same plane with one another. Also whirl. See cuts under Lavandula, Paris, and Veronica.
    • n whorl In conchology, one of the turns of a spiral shell; a volution; a gyre. The last whorl, opposite the apex or nucleus, and including the aperture of the shell, is commonly distinguished as the body-whorl. See spire, n., 2 (with cut), and cuts under univalve, Pleurotomaria, and Scalaria. Also whirl.
    • n whorl In anatomy:
    • n whorl A volution or turn of the spiral cochlea of man or any mammal. See cut under ear.
    • n whorl A scroll or turn of a turbinate bone, as the ethmoturbinal or maxilloturbinal. See cut under nasal.
    • n whorl The fly of a spindle, generally made of wood, sometimes of hard stone, etc. Also thworl and pixy-wheel.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Whorl hworl a number of leaves in a circle round the stem: a turn in a spiral shell: a volution—e.g. in the ear: the fly of a spindle
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. whorvil, the whirl of a spindle; akin to AS. hweorfa, the whirl of a spindle, hweorfan, to turn; cf. OD. worvel, the whirl of a spindle. See Whirl (n. & v.)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
By-form of whirl.


In literature:

I fell in love as one slips into a vortex, and instantly the rational world was lost beyond a whorl of ecstasy and fright.
"The Best Short Stories of 1920" by Various
Each whorl was given an arbitrary number according to its position.
"The Grell Mystery" by Frank Froest
This one showed the usual paper-dry whorls or leaves, and the usual barrel-body, perhaps common to arid country growths, everywhere.
"The Planet Strappers" by Raymond Zinke Gallun
On the green spaces are worked figures of six-winged angels standing on whorls.
"Chats on Old Lace and Needlework" by Emily Leigh Lowes
The age of young trees can be determined by noting the successive whorls of branches.
"Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Nature Study" by Ontario Ministry of Education
I succeeded in finding but two specimens that show the inner whorls.
"The Cruise of the Betsey" by Hugh Miller
The laterals are produced in pairs and are opposite, the pairs being borne in whorls around the stem.
"All About Coffee" by William H. Ukers
The recollection of other music seemed gross after this curiously introspective, this almost whorl-like, music.
"Melomaniacs" by James Huneker
The scales in each whorl, are placed alternately with those in the whorls, above and below.
"A Monograph on the Sub-class Cirripedia (Volume 1 of 2)" by Charles Darwin
The trees round about them seem as perfect in beauty and form as the lilies, their boughs whorled like lily leaves in exact order.
"My First Summer in the Sierra" by John Muir
The whorls are many-flowered, close to the stem and mostly leafless.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 5" by Various
Its buds were pink, and it sprang from a whorl of leaves like those of a dandelion.
"Across the Continent by the Lincoln Highway" by Effie Price Gladding
Opposite leaves, that is, whorls of two leaves only, are far commoner than whorls of three or four or more members.
"The Elements of Botany" by Asa Gray
It was the same color, with the same fascinating little lights and whorls in it.
"The Valiants of Virginia" by Hallie Erminie Rives
The whorls and loops are entirely dissimilar.
"Whispering Wires" by Henry Leverage
Her hips ground against him and she moved her mouth toward his ear, nipping at it, the tip of her tongue touching the whorls there.
"Makers" by Cory Doctorow
There are two large pewter plates, also, one of which has the royal coat of arms in the center, and is surrounded by the whorl pattern.
"Colonial Homes and Their Furnishings" by Mary H. Northend
It was six feet high and had twelve flowers, in two whorls, forming a pyramid.
"Canoeing in the wilderness" by Henry David Thoreau
This takes place chiefly in the staminal whorl, but usually the additional parts produced form a symmetrical whorl with the others.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 10, Slice 5" by Various
Leaves alternate or opposite or whorled; stipules none.
"The Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States" by Asa Gray

In poetry:

If they found me icy there
'Mid the lilies and pale whorls
Of the cresses in my curls
Wet of raven hair--
"Perle Des Jardins" by Madison Julius Cawein
The blizzard sculptured on the glass
Designs of arrows and of whorls.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.
"Winter Night" by Boris Pasternak
But whorl by whorl the green fronds climb;
The ewes are patient till their time;
The warm buds swell beneath the rime--
For life does not forget.
"In Dark Weather" by Mary Webb
Example, the catalpa in the book
Sprays out its leaves in whorls of three
Around the stem; the one in front of you
But rarely does, or somewhat, or almost;
"Learning the Trees" by Howard Nemerov
"You will find on it whorls and clots of
Dull grey eggs that, properly fed,
Turn, by way of the worm, to lots of
Glorious butterflies raised from the dead." . . .
"Butterflies" by Rudyard Kipling
"How gentle is the gracious Snow,
When first you watch her dance;
Her feathery flutter, winding whorls;
Her finish perfect as the pearl's;
She looks you in the face as though
'Twere unveiled Innocence.
"A Winter's Tale For The Little Ones." by Gerald Massey

In news:

The world is a scrim, left blank for the tints and whorls of the ego.
I caught up with him a few weeks ago at a booth at the Long Beach Pride Festival in Southern California, where he was researching another hypothesis—that the hair-whorl patterns on gay heads are more likely to go counterclockwise.
Jerusalem sage blooms in the spring with beautiful bright yellow whorls of flowers along long stems.
Whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia) has an intriguing structure.
It presents layers of leaves whorled evenly around the stem with a flower stalk reaching out from the axil to present a single flower above the tip of the leaf.
Fingerprint, showing a whorl pattern.
The new research on everything from voice pitch to hair whorl .
Hair Whorl (Men) Gay men are more likely than straight men to have a counterclockwise whorl .
A black whorl navigated by a rowboat.
The small whorled pogonia is found in 15 states but often there are only one or two populations in each state.
The word "sunflower" brings to mind a mane of vibrant yellow petals encircling a dark whorl of seeds.
Jerusalem sage blooms in the spring with beautiful bright yellow whorls of flowers along long stems.
A tree, its branches whorled.

In science:

The existence of chaotic solutions imples that the initial volume will fragment, forming whorls and tendrils that interpenetrate all the available phase space without changing its volume, forming an interwoven fractal structure.
From Knowledge, Knowability and the Search for Objective Randomness to a New Vision of Complexity
In order to examine the performance of the proposed approach on a two class problem consisting of patterns from morphologically distinct classes, a reduced dataset called Fingerprint (AW) was created consisting of patterns belonging to only classes arch and whorl.
Probabilistic prototype models for attributed graphs