1590s, "move round rapidly" (intransitive), of uncertain origin, possibly connected with Old English þwirl "a stirrer, handle of a churn," and Old Norse þvara "pot-sticker, stirrer." Or on another guess a blend of twist and whirl. Transitive sense, "cause to revolve rapidly," is from 1620s. Related: Twirled; twirling.
updated on February 21, 2014