Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A circular or spiral form; a vortex: "rain swirling the night into tunnels and gyres” ( Anthony Hyde).
  • n. A circular or spiral motion, especially a circular ocean current.
  • intransitive v. To whirl.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a swirling vortex
  • n. a circular current, especially a large-scale ocean current
  • v. to whirl

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A circular motion, or a circle described by a moving body; a turn or revolution; a circuit.
  • v. To turn round; to gyrate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A circle or ring; a revolution of a moving body; a circular or spiral turn.
  • n. In anatomy, a gyrus: as, a cerebral gyre.
  • To turn; gyrate; revolve.
  • To turn.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a round shape formed by a series of concentric circles (as formed by leaves or flower petals)

Etymologies

Latin gȳrus, from Greek gūros.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin gyrus, Ancient Greek γῦρος (gyros, "circle, ring, turning") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • While historically this debris has biodegraded, the gyre is now accumulating vast quantities of plastic and marine debris.

    The Vortex of 80,000 Nikes

  • A gyre is a slowly moving spiral of currents created by a high pressure system of air currents.

    Brandon Boyd: Sustainability Isn't a Four-Letter Word -- It's a Fourteen Letter Word

  • This rotating pattern, known as a gyre, occurs as a result of the clockwise winds that typically occur in this region.

    Arctic Ocean

  • Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre, which is some sort of helix thing, like DNA, or the serpent in the Garden of Eden

    Mitt Quits « Whatever

  • He Mindcalled the gyre, suddenly anxious to feel the bird's familiar weight on his shoulder.

    Winds Of Fate

  • A gyre is a naturally occurring phenomenon where two opposing dominant wind patterns (North and South) bend because of the earth's ubiquitous Coriolis Effect to form a swirling vortex in the ocean.

    GOOD

  • Marcus Eriksen: The size of the gyre is the entire garbage patch.

    Earth & Sky Podcast

  • This meant that the 430km (270 mile) Mozambique Channel that separates the two landmasses was located in a different ocean "gyre" (circular ocean current), which had an important impact on the direction and strength of the currents within the channel.

    BBC News | News Front Page | UK Edition

  • It's compelling-and oddly comforting-to know that as late as 1992, scientists trying to chart the breadth of a Gulf Stream swirl (or "gyre") did so by dumping 5,000 Legos over the side of a boat and mapping the pattern of their dispersal.

    The Texas Observer: In the Current Issue

  • Gullible is on a page with gull, of course, and guidance, and gyre.

    The Kitchen Daughter

Comments

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  • Thanks! That earlier comment by seanahan is the first line from the poem "The Second Coming" by William Butler Yeats--I learned the word gyre from that poem.

    September 4, 2010

  • great word, found on ruzuzu's favorite word. thx ruzuzu

    September 4, 2010

  • In environmental science, "any manner of particularly large-scale wind, swirling vortex and ocean currents. Gyres are caused by the Coriolis effect; planetary vorticity along with horizontal and vertical friction, which determine the circulation patterns from the wind curl (torque)." --Wikipedia

    June 4, 2009

  • A conversation with Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking-Glass:

    "And what's the gyre and to gimble?"

    "To gyre is to go round and round like a gyroscope. To gimble is to make holes like a gimlet."

    July 18, 2008

  • turning and turning in the widening gyre

    December 14, 2006