noun U.S. Nautical.
- the act of turning a multiple-screw ship within a minimum radius by having some engines going forward and others going in reverse.
- a child’s toy consisting of a wheel or leaflike curls of paper or plastic loosely attached by a pin to a stick, designed to revolve when blown by or as by the wind.
- Also called catherine wheel. a kind of firework supported on a pin which, when ignited, revolves rapidly and gives a dazzling display of light.
- a wheel having pins at right angles to its rim for engaging the teeth of a gear.
verb (used without object)
- to revolve rapidly like a pinwheel: Images of the past pinwheeled through his mind.
- another name for Catherine wheel (def. 1)
- a cogwheel whose teeth are formed by small pins projecting either axially or radially from the rim of the wheel
- US and Canadian a toy consisting of plastic or paper vanes attached to a stick in such a manner that they revolve like the sails of a windmillAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): windmill, whirligig
n.also pin-wheel, 1690s, “a wheel in the striking train of a clock in which pins are fixed to lift the hammer,” from pin (n.) + wheel (n.). Fireworks sense is from 1869.