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Sworling, swirling and whorling

Why isn’t there more use of the word ‘sworl’?

(Yes, these are the questions that obsess writers.)

I thought it was reasonably common, but several searches of the online dictionaries reveal two things: a) it’s not reasonably common, & b) the only online Australian dictionary I could find charges a subscription fee. Consequently I am left without a definition of the word ‘sworl’, though I *know* it’s different to a swirl. It’s more like this than like any of these. Swirls are meant to be concentric, I’m pretty sure. Sworls don’t have to be.

Ultimately, though, I found I was using ‘sworl’ the wrong way anyhow, in as much as I was using it to describe a fingerprint.

Incidently, contrary to some police shows, there is no such thing as a “sworl” although some people seem to think so.” That’s according to ‘the oldest law enforcement agency in the state of Texas‘.

Hate to correct you, sheriff, but in fact there *is* such a thing as a sworl. And hell, I think ‘sworl’ would sound excellent in a Texan accent. Maybe they should adopt it as their own?

In conclusion, though, & for use in the description of fingerprints, it appears the more accurate thing to say is ‘whorl’.

Right. Now that we’ve cleared that up. On to the rest of the day.