noun, plural vor·tex·es, vor·ti·ces [vawr-tuh-seez] /ˈvɔr təˌsiz/.
- a whirling mass of water, especially one in which a force of suction operates, as a whirlpool.
- a whirling mass of air, especially one in the form of a visible column or spiral, as a tornado.See also polar vortex.
- a whirling mass of fire, flame, etc.
- a state of affairs likened to a whirlpool for violent activity, irresistible force, etc.
- something regarded as drawing into its powerful current everything that surrounds it: the vortex of war.
- (in Cartesian philosophy) a rapid rotatory movement of cosmic matter about a center, regarded as accounting for the origin or phenomena of bodies or systems of bodies in space.
noun plural -texes or -tices (-tɪˌsiːz)
- a whirling mass or rotary motion in a liquid, gas, flame, etc, such as the spiralling movement of water around a whirlpool
- any activity, situation, or way of life regarded as irresistibly engulfing
1650s, “whirlpool, eddying mass,” from Latin vortex, variant of vertex “an eddy of water, wind, or flame; whirlpool; whirlwind,” from stem of vertere “to turn” (see versus). Plural form is vortices. Became prominent in 17c. theories of astrophysics (by Descartes, etc.). In reference to human affairs, it is attested from 1761. Vorticism as a movement in British arts and literature is attested from 1914, coined by Ezra Pound.
n. pl. vor•tex•es
- A spiral motion of fluid within a limited area, especially a whirling mass of water or air that sucks everything near it toward its center.
Plural vortexes vortices (vôr′tĭ-sēz′)
- A circular, spiral, or helical motion in a fluid (such as a gas) or the fluid in such a motion. A vortex often forms around areas of low pressure and attracts the fluid (and the objects moving within it) toward its center. Tornados are examples of vortexes; vortexes that form around flying objects are a source of turbulence and drag. See also eddy.