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air in natural motion, as that moving horizontally at any velocity along the earth’s surface:
A gentle wind blew through the valley. High winds were forecast.
a gale; storm; hurricane.
any stream of air, as that produced by a bellows or fan.
air that is blown or forced to produce a musical sound in singing or playing an instrument.
wind instrument.
wind instruments collectively.
the winds, the members of an orchestra or band who play the wind instruments.
breath or breathing:
to catch one’s wind.
the power of breathing freely, as during continued exertion.
any influential force or trend:
strong winds of public opinion.
a hint or intimation:
to catch wind of a stock split.
air carrying an animal’s odor or scent.
solar wind.
empty talk; mere words.
vanity; conceitedness.
gas generated in the stomach and intestines.
Boxing Slang. the pit of the stomach where a blow may cause a temporary shortness of breath; solar plexus.
any direction of the compass.
a state of unconcern, recklessness, or abandon:
to throw all caution to the winds.
to expose to wind or air.
to follow by the scent.
to make short of wind or breath, as by vigorous exercise.
to let recover breath, as by resting after exertion.
to catch the scent or odor of game.
between wind and water,

(of a ship) at or near the water line.
in a vulnerable or precarious spot:
In her profession one is always between wind and water.

break wind, to expel gas from the stomach and bowels through the anus.
how the wind blows / lies, what the tendency or probability is:
Try to find out how the wind blows.
Also, which way the wind blows.
in the teeth of the wind, sailing directly into the wind; against the wind.
Also, in the eye of the wind, in the wind’s eye.
in the wind, about to occur; imminent; impending:
There’s good news in the wind.
off the wind,

away from the wind; with the wind at one’s back.
(of a sailing vessel) headed into the wind with sails shaking or aback.

on the wind, as close as possible to the wind.
Also, on a wind.
sail close to the wind,

Also, sail close on a wind. to sail as nearly as possible in the direction from which the wind is blowing.
to practice economy in the management of one’s affairs.
to verge on a breach of propriety or decency.
to escape (punishment, detection, etc.) by a narrow margin; take a risk.

take the wind out of one’s sails, to surprise someone, especially with unpleasant news; stun; shock; flabbergast:
She took the wind out of his sails when she announced she was marrying someone else.
to change direction; bend; turn; take a frequently bending course; meander:
The river winds through the forest.
to have a circular or spiral course or direction.
to coil or twine about something:
The ivy winds around the house.
to proceed circuitously or indirectly.
to undergo winding or winding up.
to be twisted or warped, as a board.
to encircle or wreathe, as with something twined, wrapped, or placed about.
to roll or coil (thread, string, etc.) into a ball, on a spool, or the like (often followed by up).
to remove or take off by unwinding (usually followed by off or from):
She wound the thread off the bobbin.
to twine, fold, wrap, or place about something.
to make (a mechanism) operational by tightening the mainspring with a key (often followed by up):
to wind a clock; to wind up a toy.
to haul or hoist by means of a winch, windlass, or the like (often followed by up).
to make (one’s or its way) in a bending or curving course:
The stream winds its way through the woods.
to make (one’s or its way) by indirect, stealthy, or devious procedure:
to wind one’s way into another’s confidence.
the act of winding.
a single turn, twist, or bend of something wound:
If you give it another wind, you’ll break the mainspring.
a twist producing an uneven surface.
wind down,

to lessen in intensity so as to bring or come to a gradual end:
The war is winding down.
to calm down; relax:
He’s too excited tonight to wind down and sleep.

wind up,

to bring to a state of great tension; excite (usually used in the past participle):
He was all wound up before the game.
to bring or come to an end; conclude:
to wind up a sales campaign.
to settle or arrange in order to conclude:
to wind up one’s affairs.
to become ultimately:
to wind up as a country schoolteacher.
Baseball. (of a pitcher) to execute a windup.

out of wind, (of boards, plasterwork, etc.) flat and true.
to blow (a horn, a blast, etc.).
to sound by blowing.
to signal or direct by blasts of the horn or the like.
West Indian.
Contemporary Examples

Mr. Ban acknowledged the Danish wind market leader responsible for brainstorming the innovative program, Vestas wind Systems.
Winds of Change: Davos Speaks Daily Beast Promotions February 13, 2011

When things go dark, our body begins to wind down and prepare for sleep.
Six Secrets of Sleep Hacking to Get More Effective Rest Ari Meisel December 1, 2013

Despite the wind and cold, it was a beautiful, clear morning.
Ringing in the New Year on Wall Street Beau Willimon January 4, 2010

Increasingly, as these industries develop, on-site solar and wind is a way of guaranteeing a lower price for electricity.
Solar Powered Ski Lift The Daily Beast November 23, 2014

But the union wanted cash, not stock that might wind up being worthless.
The End of the Detroit Dream Paul Ingrassia January 5, 2010

Historical Examples

Then it was rain, wind, obscureness of gloom, and lightning.
The Mutiny of the Elsinore Jack London

Jim nodded and steadied her against the great warm rush of the wind.
Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow

The latter method is a waste of time and is dependent on wind and weather.
Operations Upon the Sea Franz Edelsheim

It was his first word with Pen since the walk to wind Ridge.
Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow

The wind increased, and dark clouds were seen gathering in the south-east.
Peter Biddulph W.H.G. Kingston

a current of air, sometimes of considerable force, moving generally horizontally from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure See also Beaufort scale related adjective aeolian
(mainly poetic) the direction from which a wind blows, usually a cardinal point of the compass
air artificially moved, as by a fan, pump, etc
any sweeping and destructive force
a trend, tendency, or force: the winds of revolution
(informal) a hint; suggestion: we got wind that you were coming
something deemed insubstantial: his talk was all wind
breath, as used in respiration or talk: you’re just wasting wind
(often used in sports) the power to breathe normally: his wind is weak See also second wind

a wind instrument or wind instruments considered collectively
(often pl) the musicians who play wind instruments in an orchestra
(modifier) of, relating to, or composed of wind instruments: a wind ensemble

an informal name for flatus
the air on which the scent of an animal is carried to hounds or on which the scent of a hunter is carried to his quarry
between wind and water

the part of a vessel’s hull below the water line that is exposed by rolling or by wave action
any point particularly susceptible to attack or injury

break wind, to release intestinal gas through the anus
(informal) get the wind up, have the wind up, to become frightened
have in the wind, to be in the act of following (quarry) by scent
how the wind blows, how the wind lies, which way the wind blows, which way the wind lies, what appears probable
in the wind, about to happen
(informal) three sheets in the wind, intoxicated; drunk
in the teeth of the wind, in the eye of the wind, directly into the wind
into the wind, against the wind or upwind
(nautical) off the wind, away from the direction from which the wind is blowing
(nautical) on the wind, as near as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing
(informal) put the wind up, to frighten or alarm
(Brit, informal) raise the wind, to obtain the necessary funds
sail close to the wind, sail near to the wind

to come near the limits of danger or indecency
to live frugally or manage one’s affairs economically

take the wind out of someone’s sails, to destroy someone’s advantage; disconcert or deflate
verb (transitive)
to cause (someone) to be short of breath: the blow winded him

to detect the scent of
to pursue (quarry) by following its scent

to cause (a baby) to bring up wind after feeding by patting or rubbing on the back
to expose to air, as in drying, ventilating, etc
verb winds, winding, wound
often foll by around, about, or upon. to turn or coil (string, cotton, etc) around some object or point or (of string, etc) to be turned etc, around some object or point: he wound a scarf around his head
(transitive) to twine, cover, or wreathe by or as if by coiling, wrapping, etc; encircle: we wound the body in a shroud
(transitive) often foll by up. to tighten the spring of (a clockwork mechanism)
(transitive) foll by off. to remove by uncoiling or unwinding
(usually intransitive) to move or cause to move in a sinuous, spiral, or circular course: the river winds through the hills
(transitive) to introduce indirectly or deviously: he is winding his own opinions into the report
(transitive) to cause to twist or revolve: he wound the handle
(transitive; usually foll by up or down) to move by cranking: please wind up the window
(transitive) to haul, lift, or hoist (a weight, etc) by means of a wind or windlass
(intransitive) (of a board, etc) to be warped or twisted
(intransitive) (archaic) to proceed deviously or indirectly
the act of winding or state of being wound
a single turn, bend, etc: a wind in the river
Also called winding. a twist in a board or plank
verb winds, winding, winded, wound
(transitive) (poetic) to blow (a note or signal) on (a horn, bugle, etc)

“air in motion,” Old English wind, from Proto-Germanic *wendas (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Dutch wind, Old Norse vindr, Old High German wind, German Wind, Gothic winds), from PIE *we-nt-o- “blowing,” from root *we- “to blow” (cf. Sanskrit va-, Greek aemi-, Gothic waian, Old English wawan, Old High German wajan, German wehen, Old Church Slavonic vejati “to blow;” Sanskrit vatah, Avestan vata-, Hittite huwantis, Latin ventus, Old Church Slavonic vetru, Lithuanian vejas “wind;” Lithuanian vetra “tempest, storm;” Old Irish feth “air;” Welsh gwynt, Breton gwent “wind”).

Normal pronunciation evolution made this word rhyme with kind and rind (Donne rhymes it with mind), but it shifted to a short vowel 18c., probably from influence of windy, where the short vowel is natural. A sad loss for poets, who now must rhyme it only with sinned and a handful of weak words. Symbolic of emptiness and vanity since late 13c.

I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind. [Ernest Dowson, 1896]

Meaning “breath” is attested from late Old English; especially “breath in speaking” (early 14c.), so long-winded, also “easy or regular breathing” (early 14c.), hence second wind in the figurative sense (by 1830), an image from the sport of hunting.

Figurative phrase which way the wind blows for “the current state of affairs” is suggested from c.1400. To get wind of “receive information about” is by 1809, perhaps inspired by French avoir le vent de. To take the wind out of (one’s) sails in the figurative sense (by 1883) is an image from sailing, where a ship without wind can make no progress. Wind-chill index is recorded from 1939. Wind energy from 1976. Wind vane from 1725.

“an act of winding round,” 1825, from wind (v.1) . Earlier, “an apparatus for winding,” late 14c., in which use perhaps from a North Sea Germanic word, e.g. Middle Dutch, Middle Low German winde “windlass.”

“move by turning and twisting,” Old English windan “to turn, twist, wind” (class III strong verb; past tense wand, past participle wunden), from Proto-Germanic *wendanan (cf. Old Saxon windan, Old Norse vinda, Old Frisian winda, Dutch winden, Old High German wintan, German winden, Gothic windan “to wind”), from PIE *wendh- “to turn, wind, weave” (cf. Latin viere “twist, plait, weave,” vincire “bind;” Lithuanian vyti “twist, wind”).

Related to wend, which is its causative form, and to wander. Wind down “come to a conclusion” is recorded from 1952; wind up “come to a conclusion” is from 1825. Winding sheet “shroud of a corpse” is attested from early 15c.

“to perceive by scent, get wind of,” early 15c., from wind (n.1). Of horns, etc., “make sound by blowing through,” from 1580s. Meaning “tire, put out of breath; render temporarily breathless by a blow or punch” is from 1811, originally in pugilism. Related: Winded; winding.

A current of air, especially a natural one that moves along or parallel to the ground, moving from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. Surface wind is measured by anemometers or its effect on objects, such as trees. The large-scale pattern of winds on Earth is governed primarily by differences in the net solar radiation received at the Earth’s surface, but it is also influenced by the Earth’s rotation, by the distribution of continents and oceans, by ocean currents, and by topography. On a local scale, the differences in rate of heating and cooling of land versus bodies of water greatly affect wind formation. Prevailing global winds are classified into three major belts in the Northern Hemisphere and three corresponding belts in the Southern Hemisphere. The trade winds blow generally east to west toward a low-pressure zone at the equator throughout the region from 30° north to 30° south of the equator. The westerlies blow from west to east in the temperate mid-latitude regions (from 30° to 60° north and south of the equator), and the polar easterlies blow from east to west out of high-pressure areas in the polar regions. See also Beaufort scale, chinook, foehn, monsoon, Santa Ana.

Related Terms

bag of wind, break wind, piss and wind, twist slowly in the wind

wind down
wind up


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