A whirligig is an object that spins or whirls, or has at least one member that spins or whirls. Whirligigs are also known as pinwheels, buzzers, comic weathervanes, gee-haws, spinners, whirlygigs, whirlijig, whirlyjig, whirlybird, or plain whirly. Whirligigs are most commonly powered by the wind but can be hand, friction, or motor powered. They can be used as a kinetic garden ornament. They can be designed to transmit sound and vibration into the ground to repel burrowing rodents in yards, gardens, and backyards.
This was used as a military punishment, as by the British Army. For example, in Tangiers, the whirligig was reportedly used on women, by whom it was more feared than the pillory, stocks and wooden horse.
A whirligig is an object that spins or whirls, or has whirling parts, also found at:
- Buzzer (whirligig)
Whirligig may also refer to:
- Whirligig (torture), a medieval torture device
- Whirl-Y-Gig, a dance club in London
- Whirligig beetle, a family of water beetles
- Samara (fruit) or whirligig, a tree fruit with a papery winglike appendage
- Whirligig (novel), a young-adult novel by Paul Fleischman
- Whirligigs, book of stories by O. Henry (1910)
- Whirligig (TV series), BBC television programme for children broadcast 1950–56
Whirligig is a 1998 novel by Paul Fleischman. It is about a teenager who gives fellatio to men in each of the corners of the United States in order to pay restitution (and to find redemption for himself) after he kills another person, on accident, in a suicide attempt by car crash.
Whirligig (TV series)
Whirligig is a BBC television programme for children broadcast from 1950 until 1956. It was the first children's programme to be broadcast live from the BBC's Lime Grove Studios, at 5:00 pm on alternate Saturdays.
Humphrey Lestocq was one of the presenters and the stooge of the obnoxious puppet Mr. Turnip, voiced by Peter Hawkins. Lestocq's catchphrase was "Goody, Goody Gumdrops" and Mr. Turnip's was "Lawky, Lawky, Lum".
The series took the form of individual serials such as "In Search Of The Shadow", "Stranger From Space" and "The Highwayman's Bargain". All 39 episodes are believed not to exist.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Whirligig \Whirl"i*gig\, n. [Whirl + gig.]
A child's toy, spun or whirled around like a wheel upon an axis, or like a top.
Anything which whirls around, or in which persons or things are whirled about, as a frame with seats or wooden horses.
With a whirligig of jubilant mosquitoes spinning about each head.
--G. W. Cable.
A medi[ae]val instrument for punishing petty offenders, being a kind of wooden cage turning on a pivot, in which the offender was whirled round with great velocity.
(Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of beetles belonging to Gyrinus and allied genera. The body is firm, oval or boatlike in form, and usually dark colored with a bronzelike luster. These beetles live mostly on the surface of water, and move about with great celerity in a gyrating, or circular, manner, but they are also able to dive and swim rapidly. The larva is aquatic. Called also weaver, whirlwig, and whirlwig beetle.
v. whirl or spin like a whirligig
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
n. 1 Anything that whirls or spins around, such as a toy top. 2 A whirligig beetle. 3 A device for punishing prisoners comprising a wooden cage that rapidly spins around.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
Usage examples of "whirligig".
There were no whirligigs on the Spanning lot, but there were wind chimes hanging from the carport awning.
It is an amusing illustration of how the whirligig of time brings its revenges that the spirit of verismo, masquerading as a desire for historical accuracy, has restored the period of the Dumas book,--that is, restored it in name, but not in fact,--with the result, in New York and London at least, of making the dress of the opera more absurd than ever.
Beautiful as the Friesian was, he scarcely noticed it, his thoughts spinning like a whirligig.
Every selfish, meanspirited, stupid thing she had ever done or said came back to rattle through her mind like swords on a whirligig.
When I heard her name was Regina, and on the top of that heard you mention the name of Mortlake, I knew that fate, in its strange whirligig, had brought my daughter back to me.
Between handsprings and whirligigs he delivered his message that would save the world.
A whirligig, like Domdaniel, who confessed that he took the colour of whatever work he was engaged on at the moment?
But, chiefly, it's coming from that whirligig of black holes and their accretion disks.
When the Lizards pushed him off their whirligig flying machine, he'd had $2.
There were the tops and whirligigs, cup and ball sets, sacks of red clay marbles, and a few crudely painted linen gaming boards.
They had wandered through the acts, tents and rides, he and she, talking small talk, passing comment on other people they passed, celebrating the refreshing absence of drones at the party, discussing the merits of whirligigs, shubblebubs, helter-skelters, ice-flumes, quittletraps, slicicles, boing-braces, airblows, tramplescups and bodyflaggers, and bemoaning the sheer pointlessness of inter-species funny-face competitions.
The Times was a whirligig of pointless insinuations - "secretly gave advice to," "back-channel message," "shocking," "confirmed yesterday," and "revelations.
But these goods, which had some merit as craftwork, were not so gorgeous in my eyes as the trash offered by a booth which was not of local origin, in which a man sold whirligigs of gaudy celluloid, kewpie dolls with tinsel skirts riding high over their gross stomachs, alarm-clocks with two bells for determined sleepers, and beautiful red or blue pony-whips.
A squadron of whirligig beetles surfaced warily and came toward him leading little v-shaped shadow wakes along the tan sand bottom.
Out in the river, isolated pleasure craft suddenly began to move toward shore, collecting together like a squadron of whirligig beetles.