Definition of pinwheel in US English:



North American, US
  • 1A child's toy consisting of a stick with colored vanes that twirl in the wind.

    • ‘She whirls highlights on a luminous sewing bowl of Thiebaud-like cupcakes and several striped foil pinwheels.’
    • ‘I noticed some worshippers bought colorful pinwheels from vendors as they left the temple courtyard.’
    • ‘This country isn't all puppy dogs and pinwheels, but there's a hell of a lot more to live for here than a lot of places I can think of.’
    • ‘The fascinating flowerheads of lacecap hydrangeas are also somewhat reminiscent of pinwheels.’
    • ‘Sparkly silver pinwheels spin and thin Mylar tinsel twists in the wind as viewers are confronted with their own misinterpretation of the lens' ultimate vanishing point.’
    • ‘Around the edges of the installation, there were free-standing pinwheels made of map-patterned paper.’
    • ‘In fact, it might be useful to compare the figure to a child's pinwheel that is still and motionless.’
    • ‘Tactics like putting a beach ball within the area they are disturbing and letting it blow in the wind and using scarecrows, balloons, and pinwheels can deter them.’
    • ‘They used pinwheels to create a mock wind farm in a prominent location on campus.’
    • ‘Most species, however, do not have polyp leaves, and look more like clubs, umbrellas, or pinwheels.’
    • ‘CRY plans to plant fields of pinwheels in city spaces - an expression of people's commitment to child rights.’
    • ‘Especially those ostentatious dump trucks; each one full of paintings, streamers, pinwheels, and everything that was shiny.’
    • ‘The shape of the vanes causes the arrow to spin faster, sort of like wind on the face of those toy pinwheels.’
    • ‘To make pinwheels, cut heavy paper or Mylar into 8-inch squares.’
    • ‘This is due to the fact that our galaxy rotates like a pinwheel.’
    • ‘We stepped onto a platform and were electronically delivered to a fantasy-land room of singing puppets, merry-go-rounds, and pinwheels.’
    • ‘Use a 1/2-inch piece of drinking straw as a spacer between the pinwheel and the stick.’
    • ‘Edith stated that she blew on the pinwheel from different directions and the best direction to blow should be from the side.’
    1. 1.1 A fireworks device that whirls and emits colored fire.
      • ‘As the first pinwheel of light burst, the sparks seemed to race forward to capture Emily.’
      • ‘We are near the edge of the pinwheel so we move pretty quickly.’
      • ‘As usual, we lashed firecrackers and pyrotechnics to the frame, stuffed a mortar in its mouth, and added a blazing pinwheel for the beast's eye.’
    2. 1.2 Something shaped or rotating like a pinwheel.
      • ‘I left the cabin and picked up my fishing rod, which Ishmael had festooned with some very sexy lures, including a neon-green pinwheel.’
      • ‘Roadmap-patterned wallpaper lined the elevator's interior, and an array of pinwheels and movable disk sculptures were laid out on shelves.’
      • ‘Inside purple and green mist swirled around incessantly in pinwheels.’
      • ‘In it, two pinwheels of triangles are set inside the curves of a large horizontal S shape.’
      • ‘This cookie is a spin on traditional pinwheels, in which plain and chocolate doughs are swirled together.’
      • ‘The crisp dynamic shifts and organized flourishes whet your appetite for more of the same, especially during the radiant synth pinwheels of the chorus.’
      • ‘Inserted into the void was a smaller white canvas, on which Grosse used a thick brush to paint kinetic pinwheels of translucent color.’
      • ‘A turkey vulture is a slow pinwheel in the sky, a marker above Cather's prairie.’
      • ‘The green one has mocha pinwheels, and the red one has nut meringues.’
      • ‘One of life's great frustrations is to see a frantic pinwheel of birds beyond the third bar and out of casting reach.’
      • ‘By holding the pinwheel still, we can examine its various points and notice their distinct characteristics.’
      • ‘Well, it's now a pinwheel of rain and storms soaking much of the eastern U.S.’
      • ‘Ninja Wars: A pretty girl in a kimono runs through a bamboo thicket, flailing her arms around like pinwheels.’
      • ‘They do things that Streb finds real - moves called dominoes, slices, ex-flips, inside-outs, sparkles, pinwheels, sidelines, and slams.’


[no object]North American
  • Spin or rotate like a pinwheel.

    • ‘Zoe screeched and pinwheeled her arms as if trying to drive away a horde of mosquitoes, knocking his own arm down.’
    • ‘He's completely overserved and slack jawed, his eyes are pinwheeling, searching his own field of vision to look at my buddy.’
    • ‘I apologize for any pinwheeling of eyeballs the post may have provoked.’
    • ‘There was one TV image that I wish I hadn't seen - of some man jumping off one tower, arms and legs pinwheeling desperately in his last moments.’
    • ‘More importantly, it provides a kind of centre of gravity around which the main living volume begins to pinwheel.’
    • ‘It pinwheeled into the wall, smashing Ronnie's mirror.’
    • ‘Then, arms pinwheeling, he lost balance and toppled over backwards.’
    • ‘When your husband looks into your pinwheeling eyes and asks what you've had to eat today, say, ‘Some toast, I think.’’
    • ‘But to visit in the spring or fall, when millions of birds are pinwheeling through the heavens, is to realize that there are other, much older claims here, too.’
    • ‘Also in London, Italian architect Renzo Piano breaks open the normally closed body of the tower, with surface planes that pinwheel out from the body into turning facets.’
    • ‘Just like in the movies, my eyes opened wide, and I pinwheeled my arms (probably in slow motion), and then I crashed to the floor on my elbow.’
    • ‘He took a lurching, awkward step forward, his arms pinwheeling for balance.’
    • ‘Forty minutes later we have the fish pinwheeling to Richard's hands under a leaden sky, McVeigh and his boat ROSGILL hovering in attendance.’
    • ‘Threatening or dishonest telegrams, or anonymous notes pushed under the door, set several plots pinwheeling.’
    • ‘Her cookies range from chocolate chip to pinwheel and are always the highlight of any dessert.’
    • ‘She pinwheeled end-over-end and out of sight as I hopped up and down, holding my right foot and grimacing like Oliver Hardy.’
    • ‘They'll gasp, stagger back, clutch their chests, and pinwheel their arms for balance, all the while looking around for someone to confirm their indignation.’
    • ‘He pinwheeled with one arm, then yanked me toward him with the arm he had a hold of.’
    • ‘But he raced forward anyway, feeling his bare feet slap down against the metal, his arms pinwheeling for balance.’
    • ‘Yap fell for a few moments, arms pinwheeling madly, then he vanished.’
    • ‘I was 9 and learning the game from my father and grandfather; I pinwheeled my bat in imitation, and exuded joy every time I picked up my mitt.’