AskDefine | Define maelstrom

Dictionary Definition

maelstrom n : a powerful circular current of water (usually the resulting of conflicting tides) [syn: whirlpool, vortex]

Extensive Definition

A maelstrom (or malström/malstrøm in the Scandinavian languages) is a very powerful whirlpool; a large, swirling body of water. A free vortex, it has considerable downdraft The word was introduced from the Nordic form by Edgar Allan Poe in his story "A Descent into the Maelstrom" (1841). In turn, the Nordic word was borrowed from the Dutch maalstroom which means grinding stream.
The original Maelstrom (described by Poe and others) is the Moskstraumen, a powerful tidal current in the Lofoten Islands off the Norwegian coast.

Maelstrom in popular culture


See also

maelstrom in Spanish: Maelstrom
maelstrom in Finnish: Maelstrom
maelstrom in French: Maelstrom
maelstrom in Italian: Maelstrom
maelstrom in Norwegian: Moskenstraumen
maelstrom in Polish: Maelstrom
maelstrom in Swedish: Maelstrom

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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