Definition of maelstrom noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈmeɪlstrɒm//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmeɪlstrɑːm//
    [usually singular]
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  1. 1(literary) a situation full of strong emotions or confusing events, that is hard to control and makes you feel frightened a maelstrom of conflicting emotions They were being sucked into the maelstrom of war.
  2. 2a very strong current of water that moves in circles synonym whirlpool
  3. Word Originlate 17th cent.: from early modern Dutch (denoting a mythical whirlpool in the Arctic Ocean, west of Norway), from maalen ‘grind, whirl’ + stroom ‘stream’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: maelstrom