Pronunciation: (vôr'teks), [key]
—pl. -tex•es, -ti•cesPronunciation: (-tu-sēz"). [key]
1. a whirling mass of water, esp. one in which a force of suction operates, as a whirlpool.
2. a whirling mass of air, esp. one in the form of a visible column or spiral, as a tornado.
3. a whirling mass of fire, flame, etc.
4. a state of affairs likened to a whirlpool for violent activity, irresistible force, etc.
5. something regarded as drawing into its powerful current everything that surrounds it: the vortex of war.
6. (in Cartesian philosophy) a rapid rotatory movement of cosmic matter about a center, regarded as accounting for the origin or phenomena of bodies or systems of bodies in space.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.