Definition of gyre in US English:



[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.’
    • ‘The serpents intertwined, gyring, intertwining and weaved around one another, racing towards her.’
    • ‘In contrast, resuspension of ephippia was inversely related to water column depth and spatially complex, influenced by waves, coastal currents, and offshore gyre circulation.’
    • ‘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 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.’


  • 1A spiral or vortex.

    • ‘Mobiles dangle above her, turning in their gyres.’
    • ‘Every issue seems to lead to an ever-widening gyre of new questions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Talk about turning and turning in the widening gyre, I looked up the quotation above, and what do I get?’
    • ‘The movement hasn't been linear or clean - more like a series of wiggly gyres.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I've been turning and turning in the widening 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 second turning of the gyre came, literally, out of the blue.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The currents are collectively known as the Pacific Ocean gyre.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1Geography A circular pattern of currents in an ocean basin.
      ‘the central North Pacific gyre’
      • ‘During icehouse periods the distribution of continents inhibited circum-equatorial circulation forcing faster oceanic circulation in the main ocean gyres.’
      • ‘These currents flow in large rotating loops called gyres.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


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.