Definition of gyre in English:


Pronunciation /ˈɡʌɪə//ˈdʒʌɪə/


[no object]literary
  • Whirl or gyrate.

    ‘a swarm of ghosts gyred around him’
    • ‘Another no-mates, quarantined island where they gyre and gambol long and hard and in public.’
    • ‘In contrast, resuspension of ephippia was inversely related to water column depth and spatially complex, influenced by waves, coastal currents, and offshore gyre circulation.’
    • ‘The current is not, however, continuous around Antarctica and it is absorbed in the two large gyre systems of the Weddell Sea and the Ross Sea.’
    • ‘Moreover, there was an inspiring chasm between the knowledge that factories and towns lay only a little beyond sight, and the bleak feeling that the primeval cold and the gyring of the snow flakes had wiped away all civilization.’
    • ‘The serpents intertwined, gyring, intertwining and weaved around one another, racing towards her.’


  • 1A spiral or vortex.

    • ‘Eight days out of port, the wind dropped below ten knots and we decided to practice our manta trawling technique, taking a sample at the edge of the subtropical gyre, about 800 miles offshore.’
    • ‘The second turning of the gyre came, literally, out of the blue.’
    • ‘The currents are collectively known as the Pacific Ocean gyre.’
    • ‘But it really is a sad day when we consider using the amendment process to turn back the widening gyre of equality and emancipation which has always been this document's role in the American state.’
    • ‘And for the past fifty years or so, plastics that have made their way into the Pacific Ocean have been fragmenting and accumulating as a kind of swirling sewer in the North Pacific subtropical gyre.’
    • ‘It was a very deep and profound meditation on the widening gyre of human history and the ever-present possibility of catastrophic encounters.’
    • ‘This could lead to the development of a semi-permanent storm-driven gyre.’
    • ‘The waters of the North Atlantic gyre provide a favorable, food-rich environment for young turtles, but straying beyond the latitudinal extremes of the gyre is often fatal.’
    • ‘For Yeats, it just so happened, fortuitously, that the twentieth century marked the final days of his apocalyptic gyre, which then would turn, renewed, to begin again.’
    • ‘Thus, specific magnetic fields characteristic of widely separated oceanic regions elicit orientation responses that are likely to help turtles remain safely within the gyre and progress along the migratory route.’
    • ‘Every issue seems to lead to an ever-widening gyre of new questions.’
    • ‘The memorable events would be symbolized and carved into a totem pole that would stand at the pinnacle of the pagoda roof for the next year's gyre journey.’
    • ‘The two source waters of the cold fresh Arctic water and the warm salty Atlantic water form a cyclonic gyre which is closed in its southern section at approximately 72°N by the eastward-flowing current.’
    • ‘Mobiles dangle above her, turning in their gyres.’
    • ‘Because 40 percent of the oceans are classified as subtropical gyres, a fourth of the planet's surface area has become an accumulator of floating plastic debris.’
    • ‘These circles, the critics say, are more like spirals that turn ever more tightly upon a cultural gyre of trivial texts and even more trivial analyses of those texts.’
    • ‘Talk about turning and turning in the widening gyre, I looked up the quotation above, and what do I get?’
    • ‘I've been turning and turning in the widening gyre.’
    • ‘Rivers of plastic objects are carried by great ocean currents from North America, Japan, and other lands along the North Pacific rim into the gyre.’
    • ‘The movement hasn't been linear or clean - more like a series of wiggly gyres.’
    • ‘More of these Gulfstream waters are recirculating southward in the subtropical gyre and less are extending northwards into high latitudes.’
    • ‘In near-continuous rotation by the five young actors, this gyre of history throws off stories running from Abraham to Christ.’
    • ‘The air in the North Pacific subtropical gyre is heated at the equator and rises high into the atmosphere because of its buoyancy in cooler, surrounding air masses.’
    • ‘The intensification of the western boundary of the gyre results from the fact that the Coriolis force changes with latitude, coupled with the conservation of vorticity across the whole gyre.’
    • ‘Seawater was collected from varying depths at six stations across the nutrient gradient between the nutrient-poor North Pacific gyre and the nutrient-rich sub-Arctic gyre.’
    1. 1.1Geography A circular pattern of currents in an ocean basin.
      ‘the central North Pacific gyre’
      • ‘These currents flow in large rotating loops called gyres.’
      • ‘During icehouse periods the distribution of continents inhibited circum-equatorial circulation forcing faster oceanic circulation in the main ocean gyres.’
      • ‘The August data support the results of earlier investigations that suggested that dynamic forcing by a basinwide gyre is responsible for the upwelling in the open water.’
      • ‘Worse, as the streams bend to equalize pressure behind the foil, and may set up a turbulent gyre further slowing the foil by induced drag.’
      • ‘Zones of minimum upwelling and, therefore, productivity, occur in the central regions of the oceans known as the gyres.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘whirl someone or something round’): from late Latin gyrare, from Latin gyrus ‘a ring’, from Greek guros. The noun is from Latin gyrus.