"And what's to "gyre' and to "gymble'?"

"To "gyre' is to go round and round like a gyroscope. To "gimble' is to make holes like a gimlet."

By Lewis Carroll
from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872

GYRE, verb (derived from GYAOUR or GIAOUR, "a dog.") To scratch like a dog.

Carroll's definition, printed in 1855, cited by The Annotated Alice
Gyres are not particular to Lewis Carroll's Looking-Glass world. If you want to encounter one without stepping into a mirror and perhaps bleeding to death from all the nasty cuts you would incur, all you have to do is go out into the ocean. Along the eastern coast of North America and spanning all the way across to Europe and north Africa is the North Atlantic gyre. Then there's the South Atlantic gyre (Africa to South America), the Indian Ocean gyre (west coast of Africa to Australia), and the two huge Pacific gyres, north and south (they stretch from Asia and Oceania to the Americas). Their motion, unlike the flush of toilet water down the drain, is dictated by the Coriolis effect.

Gyres are caused by the continents binding ocean currents into perpetually swirling patterns along the ocean basins. The centrals gyres which line the equator (South Atlantic and South Pacific) are centered over tropical high pressure zones, further fueling their motion.

Gyre (?), n. [L. gyrus, Gr. , cf. round.]

A circular motion, or a circle described by a moving body; a turn or revolution; a circuit.

Quick and more quick he spins in giddy gyres. Dryden.

Still expanding and ascending gyres. Mrs. Browning.


© Webster 1913.

Gyre, v. t. & i. [Cf. OF. gyrer, girer. See Gyrate.]

To turn round; to gyrate.


Bp. Hall. Drayton.


© Webster 1913.

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