Definition of eddy in US English:



  • 1A circular movement of water, counter to a main current, causing a small whirlpool.

    • ‘We drifted past a pair of mergansers, treading water in a streamside eddy.’
    • ‘They spot small pools and eddies of water, and then little round objects scattered on the ground.’
    • ‘In this role, as with his solo work, he's a miner of sonic archaeologies, a metaphysician of the eddies, currents and whirlpools of the past.’
    • ‘A strong flow in the middle of the channel breaks into whirlpools and back eddies along both sides.’
    • ‘Along the bank I discovered quiet little eddies, water trickling between the stones with overhanging Myrtles, the sun sparkling on a pool when it could squeeze through the branches and leaves.’
    • ‘The bank at this point stood over a slow swirling eddy of water about 18 inches deep.’
    • ‘We made a hasty exit back up to the beach and, before long, the water was once again a maelstrom of ever-widening rips, eddies and whirlpools.’
    • ‘The young chub seek out the corners of the tank, where small eddies mean the water is moving slower than in the main current.’
    • ‘Simultaneously, small whirlpools called eddies form on both sides of the boat near the stern, which surge and press against the boat on each side.’
    • ‘The official state fish of Texas, Guadalupes tend to hang in moving water, often in eddies or seams right in what looks to be the fastest sections of rapids.’
    • ‘The thunder and lightning had abated for the time being, and now the rain was falling in slashing torrents, turning the streets into rivers, grates and drains into gurgling whirlpools and eddies.’
    • ‘The view is initially clouded and unfocused by an eddy of mixing cold water and I have to circle to find a clearer view of them.’
    • ‘Seeing the eerie slicks and eddies of the water racing through at seven knots while a lonely cormorant beats its way up the sound is almost sinisterly memorable.’
    • ‘The spiral wave inhibits normal waves, just as eddies in a stream inhibit the smooth flow of water.’
    • ‘The following day was spent entering and exiting the fast-flowing currents and wild eddies in white water on the Mitta Mitta River.’
    • ‘They require clear, flowing, well-oxygenated water with associated pools and eddies of quiet water and areas of dense vegetation or debris to provide adequate cover and food supply.’
    • ‘Half an hour after surfacing, you will witness the might of the tidal stream, and the current will form eddies where you had previously been diving in calm water.’
    • ‘I'm seized by a mighty whirlpool, a perilous eddy of words which sucks me under, deeper and deeper.’
    swirl, whirlpool, vortex, maelstrom
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    1. 1.1 A circular movement of wind, fog, or smoke.
      ‘an eddy of chill air swirled into the carriage’
      • ‘Rough canopies generate mechanical turbulence, allowing eddies of air from the bulk atmosphere to penetrate deep within the plant canopy.’
      • ‘The inside of a cloud is full of turbulence that creates many swirling eddies of air.’
      • ‘Not coincidentally, the flowers of wind-pollinated plants are usually arranged in tight bunches that block the wind, creating eddies that increase the odds of successful pollen delivery.’
      • ‘This called for a more streamlined roof line; the reduced roof pitch eliminated the unwanted eddies and made the air flow more efficiently.’
      • ‘It's thought that the overall rotation of these galaxies combines and smooths out the small-scale magnetic fields created by whirls and eddies of gas.’
      • ‘Optionally the flue gas recirculation duct has a plate member extending into the primary air chamber to create flow eddies to enhance further mixing of flue gas and air.’
      • ‘Balmy gusts of wind chased dry leaves down the street and in little eddies around the legs of their table.’
      • ‘They swung back and forth, conjuring eddies from the still air.’
      • ‘But it was hard to forget when every eddy of wind out of the east brought the smell of mud and the gleeful chuckles of the river.’
      • ‘In the midst of all the gusts and eddies, something else was riding the wind.’
      • ‘Tiny eddies of smoke escaped from the edges of the bark, then succumb to the heat of the flames.’
      • ‘Eventually we could smell it in the air and hear it trickling beneath the eddies of wind.’
      • ‘The difference in wind speeds creates a shear that forms eddies in the air.’
      • ‘A street cleaner already cleans the main thoroughfares but wind eddies can blow drifts of crisp packets and chocolate wrappers into alleys and hedges, he said.’
      • ‘He felt the world around him with breathtaking subtlety; the complex texture of the ground, the tiny eddies and currents in the air… nothing escaped his perception.’
      • ‘So I peeled the orange to pass the time, watched the rinds floating down, catching in wind eddies like petals.’
      swirl, whirl, eddy, billow, shower, gust, rush, burst, gale, squall, storm
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  • no object, with adverbial of direction (of water, air, or smoke) move in a circular way.

    ‘the mists from the river eddied around the banks’
    • ‘The current eddied and swirled like liquid glass, and occasionally a bit of ice, detached from the shore, would go gliding downstream to be swallowed up in the shadows under the bridge.’
    • ‘He gestures to eddying whirlpools and rapids shooting through jagged rocks on both sides of the river, which is so narrow two ships could hardly pass each other.’
    • ‘A sickly brown miasma eddied about his feet as he stepped around the bodies.’
    • ‘I normally avoid any dish with celery in it, but the small, frothing mug of creamy soup was a perfect antidote to the snow eddying outside, a good deal of which had stuck to our hair and coats.’
    • ‘And around her, spreading higher and higher though yet to disperse into the air, strong, eddying winds whirl, becoming one with the oncoming storm.’
    • ‘The only thing brighter than the sunlight was the dust, which swirled and eddied low around our feet, stirred by the rare breezes.’
    • ‘Despite fierce ebb tides causing the river to swirl and eddy they maintained stationary.’
    • ‘It was getting to be hot; small white shapes, clouds, floated in the blue sky, while others eddied down the roads around the ground.’
    • ‘Snow fell, one tiny flake in every cubic metre of air, the beck ran clear but a foot or two across, dancing round the boulders, eddying at roots and skidding over smooth slabs of sandstone.’
    • ‘One of the most observable is at the blades of oars and these swirling jets of water can be easily seen eddying away and conforming to Newton's third law of motion, creating an opposite reaction.’
    • ‘He locates it on the edge of a pool where the river flows into the sea and vice versa in a ceaselessly eddying whirlpool.’
    • ‘The air eddies with charcoal smoke and incense.’
    • ‘The fog whirled and eddied around her as she stepped out into the cobblestone street.’
    • ‘Reporters eddied around the margins and complained that there was no coffee.’
    • ‘Billowing clouds of steam and smoke drifted and eddied, obscuring then revealing the tormented reddish rock of the opposite wall.’
    • ‘He lit the tobacco in the pipe and blew a soft grey circle of smoke, which eddied and floated away on the currents of the wind like a bird taken to flight.’
    swirl, whirl, spiral, wind, churn, swish, circulate, revolve, spin, twist
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Late Middle English: probably from the Germanic base of the Old English prefix ed- ‘again, back’.