a firework that revolves on a pin, making a wheel of fire or sparks; pinwheel.
wheel window.
a child’s toy consisting of a wheel or leaflike curls of paper or plastic loosely attached by a pin to a stick, designed to revolve when blown by or as by the wind.
Also called catherine wheel. a kind of firework supported on a pin which, when ignited, revolves rapidly and gives a dazzling display of light.
a wheel having pins at right angles to its rim for engaging the teeth of a gear.
to revolve rapidly like a pinwheel:
Images of the past pinwheeled through his mind.
Historical Examples

He has mentioned to me that you went off with a noise like a catherine-wheel.
The Late Tenant Louis Tracy

The others were watching him much as they would a catherine-wheel that refused to ignite.
McClure’s Magazine, Vol. 31, No. 1, May 1908 Various

This sends the hair all out like a catherine-wheel, and dries the brush with quite astonishing rapidity.
Stained Glass Work C. W. Whall

After which he went away as a catherine-wheel, and I saw him no more.
A Great Emergency and Other Tales Juliana Horatia Gatty Ewing

The fly-wheel of the engine revolved like a catherine-wheel composed of water—water flying in brief tangents from the rim.
The House by the River A. P. Herbert

He would wheel you by the beard round his arm like a catherine-wheel, I do assure you.
The Lord of the Sea M. P. Shiel

Rose-Window, a circular window, called also a catherine-wheel, or a Marigold window.
The Children of Westminster Abbey Rose G. Kingsley

She swung round the yard, doubled in two, making circles like a catherine-wheel about him until the old blackguard was mesmerised.
Waysiders Seumas O’Kelly

Also called pinwheel. a type of firework consisting of a powder-filled spiral tube, mounted with a pin through its centre. When lit it rotates quickly, producing a display of sparks and coloured flame
a circular window having ribs radiating from the centre
another name for Catherine wheel (sense 1)
a cogwheel whose teeth are formed by small pins projecting either axially or radially from the rim of the wheel
(US & Canadian) a toy consisting of plastic or paper vanes attached to a stick in such a manner that they revolve like the sails of a windmill Also called (in Britain and certain other countries) windmill, whirligig

also pin-wheel, 1690s, “a wheel in the striking train of a clock in which pins are fixed to lift the hammer,” from pin (n.) + wheel (n.). Fireworks sense is from 1869.


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