1. a more or less vertical column of air whirling around itself as it moves over the surface of the Earth
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Whirlwind \Whirl"wind`\, n. [Cf. Icel. hvirfilvindr, Sw.
hvirfvelvind, Dan. hvirvelvind, G. wirbelwind. See Whirl,
and Wind, n.]
1. A violent windstorm of limited extent, as the tornado,
characterized by an inward spiral motion of the air with
an upward current in the center; a vortex of air. It
usually has a rapid progressive motion.
The swift dark whirlwind that uproots the woods.
And drowns the villages. --Bryant.
Note: Some meteorologists apply the word whirlwind to the
larger rotary storm also, such as cyclones.
2. Fig.: A body of objects sweeping violently onward. "The
whirlwind of hounds and hunters." --Macaulay.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: a more or less vertical column of air whirling around
itself as it moves over the surface of the Earth
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
58 Moby Thesaurus words for "whirlwind":
Charybdis, ado, baguio, blaze, burst, bustle, convulsion, cyclone,
dizzy round, dust devil, eddy, eruption, explosion, fit, flare-up,
flurry, furore, fuss, gale, gurge, gust, gyre, hurricane,
irruption, maelstrom, outbreak, outburst, paroxysm, pirouette,
pother, rainspout, rat race, reel, rotary storm, round,
sand column, sandspout, seizure, spasm, spin, storm, surge, swirl,
tempest, tornado, turn, twirl, twister, typhoon, upheaval, vortex,
waterspout, wheel, whirl, whirlblast, whirlpool, whirly,
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015):
An early computer from the MIT Research Laboratory
Whirlwind used electrostatic memory and ran Laning and
Zierler (1953); and ALGEBRAIC, COMPREHENSIVE and SUMMER
SESSION (all 1959).