Easily Confused Words: World vs. Whirled

World and whirled are easily confused words. The spell-check of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up among these three words. As long as it’s a word and it is spelled correctly, spell-check keeps on scanning the document.

World is a noun. It means a planet, or a state of existence. A world can be physical and tactile, like planet Earth, or conceptual, like one person’s life or reality.

Whirled is a verb, it is the past tense of ‘to whirl.’ To whirl is to move in circles, spin, or spiral. A female dancer whirls in ballroom dance routines, desert sand whirls in a dust devil. [ If you don’t know what I mean by dustdevil, check out this Youtube dust devil video filmed by resident John Hargan in Arizona.]

Whirl can be a noun as well, as in the object being spun around, or a person who is feeling he or she is being spun around, or confused, or tugged into multiple directions.

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Overwhelmed by exams, extracurricular activities, and wedding planning, Wilhemina felt her world had whirled out of control. 

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