whirligig


a child’s toy

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“From WHIRLIGIGS to stereoscopes, from toy soldiers to toy kitchens, from horse-drawn fire engines to subway cars, the New York Historical Society houses many toys illustrative of their day and the children who played with them.”

Lexico Oxford Dictionary


“Thus, if I am aware of my distractions — which are mostly emotionally charged memories or fantasies based upon such memories — the mental WHIRLIGIG will automatically come to a stop and the memory will be emptied, at least for a moment or two.”

Aldous Huxley - The Divine Within: Selected Writings on Enlightenment

Did you
know?

whirligig
noun

- any spinning toy
- another name for merry-go-round
- anything that whirls about, spins, or moves in a circular or giddy way

Collins Dictionary


ORIGIN

English speakers, and particularly children, began spinning whirligigs as early as the 15th century. Since then, “whirligig” has acquired several meanings beyond its initial toy sense. It even has a place in the common name of the whirligig beetle, a member of the family Gyrinidae that swiftly swims in circles on the surface of still water.

The word whirligig comes to us from Middle English “whirlegigg” (“whirling top”), which is itself from whirlen, meaning “to whirl,” and gigg, meaning “(toy) top.”


HUMAN WHIRLIGIG

The fastest spin on ice skates is 342 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) and was achieved by Olivia Oliver at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, on 19 January 2015. She was just 11 years old.


WHIRLING SYNONYMS

circle, corkscrew, gyrate, move round in circles, pinwheel, pirouette, revolve, reel, rotate, spin around, spiral, swing round, swirl, swoosh, twiddle, twirl, twist, twizzle, wheel round, WHIRL, whirr, wobble


PRACTICE OWAD in an English conversation, say something like:

“It’s fascinating to watch skaters spin on the ice like WHIRLIGIGS.”


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

Paul Smith

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