Etymology
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whir (v.)
c. 1400, Scottish, "fling, hurl," probably from Old Norse hvirfla, frequentative of hverfa "to turn" (see wharf). Compare Danish hvirvle, Dutch wervelen, German wirbeln "to whirl." Related: Whirred; whirring.
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hurry (v.)
1590s, transitive and intransitive, first recorded in Shakespeare, who used it often; perhaps a variant of harry (v.), or perhaps a West Midlands sense of Middle English hurren "to vibrate rapidly, buzz" (of insects), from Proto-Germanic *hurza "to move with haste" (source also of Middle High German hurren "to whir, move fast," Old Swedish hurra "to whirl round"), which also perhaps is the root of hurl (v.). To hurry up "make haste" is from 1890. Related: hurried; hurrying.
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whirligig (n.)
mid-15c., a child's toy, from whirl (v.) + gig (see gig (n.1)). Meaning "anything in constant motion" is from 1580s; "fickle, flighty person" is from c. 1600; as a type of water beetle, from 1713.
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whirl (n.)
early 15c., "flywheel of a spindle," from whirl (v.). The meaning "act of whirling" is recorded from late 15c.; figurative sense of "confused activity" is recorded from 1550s. Colloquial sense of "tentative attempt" is attested from 1884, American English.
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whirl (v.)
c. 1300, probably from Old Norse hvirfla "to go round, spin," related to hvirfill "circle, ring, crown," and to Old English hweorfan "to turn" (see wharf). Related: Whirled; whirling. Whirlybird "helicopter" is from 1951.
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whirlpool (n.)
1520s, from whirl (v.) + pool (n.1). Old English had hwyrfepol and wirfelmere.
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whirlwind (n.)
mid-14c., from whirl (v.) + wind (n.1), probably on model of Old Norse hvirfilvindr.
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