Whirligig /(h)wərlēˌɡiɡ/ noun
Definition: Whirligig has a few different meanings:
- A whirligig can describe a children’s toy that moves in a circle. Merry-go-rounds, spinning tops and pinwheels are examples of whirligigs used in this sense. We know these objects for swirling non-stop in a circular motion.
- Whirligig is also a type of beetle found swimming atop lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds. The Whirligig Beetle is a member of the water beetle family.
- Finally, a whirligig can also describe an ancient torture machine. This wooden cage would spin its captors relentlessly in a circle.
Etymology: The first recorded use of the word whirligig was in the 15th Century. It was recorded in Middle English as whirligegg from whirlen. They eventually shortened the word to “whirl” and added the word “gigg” to create the word we know today.
In a Sentence
The prisoner feared for his life when they put him inside the Whirligig.
Timothy begged his mother to buy him the brightly colored whirligig at the toy store.
The Whirligig Beetle will swim underwater when it detects a nearby threat.