(redirected from reaping the whirlwind)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Idioms.


revolving mass of air resulting from local atmospheric instability, such as that caused by intense heating of the ground by the sun on a hot summer day. Examples of whirlwinds are waterspoutswaterspout,
tornado occurring at sea or over inland waters. The characteristic funnel-shaped cloud is formed at the base of a cumulus-type cloud and extends downward to the water surface, where it picks up spray.
..... Click the link for more information.
, tornadoestornado,
dark, funnel-shaped cloud containing violently rotating air that develops below a heavy cumulonimbus cloud mass and extends toward the earth. The funnel twists about, rises and falls, and where it reaches the earth causes great destruction.
..... Click the link for more information.
, small whirls of dust or leaves, and the sand whirls of the desert, called dust devils or dust whirls.

What does it mean when you dream about a whirlwind?

To encounter a whirlwind in a dream may indicate that the dreamer has been on a whirlwind schedule. The force and power of a whirlwind might also indicate that the dreamer is being lifted up and placed on an entirely new life path.


A small local tornado in dry air, without clouds and rain. Sometimes called a dust devil.


a column of air whirling around and towards a more or less vertical axis of low pressure, which moves along the land or ocean surface


An early computer from the MIT Research Laboratory for Electronics.

Whirlwind used electrostatic memory and ran Laning and Zierler (1953); and ALGEBRAIC, COMPREHENSIVE and SUMMER SESSION (all 1959).


The first electronic digital computer used in a real-time application and the first to use magnetic core memory. The Whirlwind was originally intended to be a general-purpose aircraft simulator for the U.S. Navy, but evolved into a general-purpose computer that became the prototype for the SAGE air defense system (see SAGE). Developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, construction began in 1947. It became operational in the early 1950s.

Its first memory used electrostatic storage tubes that proved unreliable, and in 1953, magnetic core memory was added, dramatically improving performance and reliability. The Whirlwind used 2K words of core memory and magnetic drum and tape for storage. The machine was continually enhanced, eventually using 12,000 vacuum tubes and 20,000 diodes and occupying two floors of an MIT campus building.

Whirlwind's circuit design, core memory and use of CRTs contributed greatly in the making of future computers. Project members later worked on IBM's 700 series. One in particular, Kenneth Olsen, founded Digital Equipment Corporation.

Whirlwind I
In the early 1950s, the Whirlwind was the prototype computer for the U.S. air defense system. It was also the first to use core memory. (Image courtesy of The MITRE Corporation Archives.)

Kenneth H. Olsen
Olsen worked on the Whirlwind and later pioneered the minicomputer industry with his PDP computer series. He founded and ran Digital Equipment Corporation for 35 years until his retirement in 1992. (Image courtesy of Digital Equipment Corporation.)
References in periodicals archive ?
Instead we have had a kind of reaping the whirlwind of a lack of oversight.
Drawn from diaries, letters, interrogation reports, interviews and personal memoirs, Reaping the Whirlwind speaks with the authentic voices of those who followed delusional and power-hungry leaders to their nations' ruin.
They are now reaping the whirlwind of hate that was nurtured by themselves as a club.
Stealth taxes have caused the UK economy to stagnate, and we are now reaping the whirlwind of years of New Labour economic incompetence.
Racing is almost certainly reaping the whirlwind that was the ridiculous attempt to impose higher charges for data on newspaper, as well as one of the inevitable consequences of a growing fixture list.
If you are seen to be denying that there is an issue, or blaming parents, you will be sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind.
We are but reaping the whirlwind, experiencing the outcome of several radically aberrant trends going on in the Church for almost four decades now, McInerny said.
The way house prices escalated in the first years of her government and the almost total lack of provision for affordable rented accommodation is a case of reaping the whirlwind.
Pakistan, seduced by Saudi money, has sown the wind and is reaping the whirlwind.
Rashid has a huge advantage over Michael Griffin, author of Reaping the Whirlwind, in that Rashid is a native of Pakistan, as well as a Muslim, and has for two decades covered Afghanistan for Pakistani and Western publications.
REAPING THE WHIRLWIND THE TALIBAN MOVEMENT IN AFGHANISTAN By Michael Griffin published by Pluto Press ISBN 0 7453 1274 8 price 19.