[Vocabulary] Difference between revolve, spin, rotate

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Venus.jam

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Hi

Would you please answer the following questions?

1. What is the difference between spin, rotate, revolve, orbit and revolution? Would you please give an example for each?

2. Are the following sentences correct?

A. The moon orbits (spins or orbits) Earth.
B. Yesterday, my son was revolving around me.
C. Dervishes rotate/spin/orbit around themselves.
 
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Skrej

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1. What is the difference between spin,
rotate, revolve, orbit and revolution? Would you please give an example for each?

Rotate and spin are mostly synonymous (when referring to the definitions regarding circular movement). The object moves in a circular motion around a central axis, but stays in the same location. A ceiling fan rotates. A washing machine spins. 'Spin' may imply a somewhat faster movement than 'rotate'.

Orbit means to move in a circular path around a central object. For example, the planets orbit the sun.

Revolve can be used to refer to either of the above movements - a circular path around an object or circular movement on a stable axis.

Note both can happen at the same time. For example, Earth spins while orbiting the sun.

'Revolution' (regarding circular movement) is the noun form of the verb 'revolve'. My washing machine spins at 1,000 revolutions per minute. (Frequently abbreviated as 'rpm')

2. Are the following sentences correct?

A. The moon orbits (spins or orbits) Earth.
Orbits.
B. Yesterday, my son was revolving around me. Unnatural, but grammatical. It could be confused as metaphorical.

C. Dervishes rotate/spin/orbit around themselves. ''Dervishes spin (themselves) rapidly'' or ''Dervishes rotate (themselves) quickly''. When referring to the Sufi dancers, note that that the word 'whirling' is often used - Whirling Dervishes.
A dervish can also be a rotating funnel of wind, similar to a tornado but on a much smaller scale, also known as a 'dirt devil'.
 

GoesStation

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A dervish can also be a rotating funnel of wind, similar to a tornado but on a much smaller scale, also known as a 'dirt devil'.

Dirt devil apparently exists, barely, but the usual name for that micro-tornado is dust devil.
 

Venus.jam

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Rotate and spin are mostly synonymous (when referring to the definitions regarding circular movement). The object moves in a circular motion around a central axis, but stays in the same location. A ceiling fan rotates. A washing machine spins. 'Spin' may imply a somewhat faster movement than 'rotate'.

Orbit means to move in a circular path around a central object. For example, the planets orbit the sun.


Do you mean that the following sentences can also be used:

A ceiling fan revolves.

A washing machine revolves.

The planets revolve the sun.
 
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GoesStation

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Do you mean that the following sentences can also be used:

A ceiling fan revolves. No. It rotates or, more accurately, its blades do.

A washing machine revolves. No. Not unless it's standing on a rotating platform. Its drum rotates or revolves.

The planets revolve around the sun.

See above.
 
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bubbha

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The distinction between "rotate" and "revolve" is strict in the field of astronomy.

The earth rotates on its axis, but it revolves around the sun.
 
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