Definitions

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

  • n. A machine that runs on the energy generated by a wheel of adjustable blades or slats rotated by the wind.
  • n. Something, such as a toy pinwheel, that is similar to a windmill in appearance or operation.
  • transitive v. To move or cause to move like the wheel of a windmill; rotate sweepingly.
  • idiom tilt at windmills To confront and engage in conflict with an imagined opponent or threat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A machine which translates linear motion of wind to rotational motion by means of adjustable vanes called sails.
  • n. The structure containing such machinery.
  • n. A child's toy consisting of vanes mounted on a stick that rotate when blown by a person or by the wind.
  • n. A dunk where the dunker swings his arm in a circular motion before throwing the ball through the hoop.
  • n. A guitar move where the strumming hand mimics a turning windmill.
  • n. The false shower.
  • v. To rotate (itself) with a sweeping motion.
  • v. Of a rotating part of a machine, to (become disengaged and) rotate freely.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A mill operated by the power of the wind, usually by the action of the wind upon oblique vanes or sails which radiate from a horizontal shaft.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A mill or machine for grinding, pumping, or other purposes, moved by the wind; a wind-motor; any form of motor for utilizing the pressure of the wind as a motive power.
  • n. A visionary scheme; a vain project; a fancy; a chimera.

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

  • n. generator that extracts usable energy from winds
  • n. a mill that is powered by the wind

Etymologies

From Middle English windmille, windmelle, windmulle, windmilne, wyndemylne, from Old English *windmylen, equivalent to wind +‎ mill. Cognate with Scots wyndmyln, wyndmyl ("windmill"), Saterland Frisian Wiendmäälne ("windmill"), West Frisian wynmûne ("windmill"), Dutch windmolen ("windmill"), Dutch Low Saxon windmölle (Achterhooks), wiendmeule ("windmill") (Drents, Veluws), German Windmühle ("windmill"), Danish vindmølle ("windmill"), Swedish vindmölla ("windmill"), Icelandic vindmylla ("windmill"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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