[hur-i-keyn, huhr- or, esp. British, -kuh n] /ˈhɜr ɪˌkeɪn, ˈhʌr- or, esp. British, -kən/

a violent, tropical, cyclonic storm of the western North Atlantic, having wind speeds of or in excess of 72 miles per hour (32 m/sec).
Compare , .
a storm of the most intense severity.
anything suggesting a violent storm.
(initial capital letter) Military. a single-seat British fighter plane of World War II, fitted with eight .303 caliber machine guns and with a top speed in excess of 300 miles per hour (480 km/h).
/ˈhʌrɪkən; -keɪn/
a severe, often destructive storm, esp a tropical cyclone

anything acting like such a wind

1550s, a partially deformed adoptation from Spanish huracan (Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdés, “Historia General y Natural de las Indias,” 1547-9), furacan (in the works of Pedro Mártir De Anghiera, chaplain to the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and historian of Spanish explorations), from an Arawakan (W. Indies) word. In Portuguese, it became furacão. For confusion of initial -f- and -h- in Spanish, see hacienda. The word is first in English in Richard Eden’s “Decades of the New World”:

These tempestes of the ayer (which the Grecians caule Tiphones …) they caule furacanes.

OED records 39 different spellings, mostly from the late 16c., including forcane, herrycano, harrycain, hurlecane. Modern form became frequent from 1650, established after 1688. Shakespeare uses hurricano (“King Lear,” “Troilus and Cressida”), but in reference to waterspouts.


A severe, rotating tropical storm with heavy rains and cyclonic winds exceeding 74 mi (119 km) per hour, especially such a storm occurring in the Northern Hemisphere. Hurricanes originate in the tropical parts of the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean Sea and move generally northward. They lose force when they move over land or colder ocean waters. See Note at cyclone.

A large tropical storm system with high-powered circular winds. (See cyclone and eye of a hurricane.)

Note: Between July and October, hurricanes cause extensive damage along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. (See Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.)


Read Also:

  • Hurricane-deck

    noun 1. a deck at the top of a passenger steamer, having a roof supported by light scantlings. noun 1. a ship’s deck that is covered by a light deck as a sunshade

  • Hurricane-force wind

    [hur-i-keyn-fawrs wind, -fohrs, huhr- or, esp. British, -kuh n-] /ˈhɜr ɪˌkeɪnˌfɔrs ˈwɪnd, -ˌfoʊrs, ˈhʌr- or, esp. British, -kən-/ noun 1. a wind, not necessarily a hurricane, having a speed of more than 72 miles per hour (32 m/sec): the strongest of the winds.

  • Hurricane-lamp

    noun 1. a candlestick or oil lantern protected against drafts or winds by a glass chimney. noun 1. a paraffin lamp, with a glass covering to prevent the flame from being blown out Also called storm lantern

  • Hurricane-warning

    noun, Meteorology. 1. a storm warning given for winds with speeds exceeding 63 knots (72 mph, 32 m/sec) when the source of the winds is a tropical cyclone.

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