Definition of gale in English:



  • 1A very strong wind.

    ‘I slept well despite the howling gales outside’
    ‘it was blowing a gale’
    [as modifier] ‘gale-force winds battered the North Sea coast’
    • ‘A little rain fell in the Perth-Bunbury area, but none fell inland, where hot dry gales and thick duststorms were experienced.’
    • ‘There is no definite periodicity generally associated with wind gusts or gales.’
    • ‘You are enjoying a pleasant spell of weather, 14 to 17 degrees say, and suddenly the weather changes and we have two days of gales with biting winds.’
    • ‘Weather conditions were not kind to lake anglers this week with heavy downpours of rain accompanied by varying winds and gales at times.’
    • ‘When there is a strong wind outside, a gale blows indoors.’
    • ‘Freezing easterly gales, with wind speeds up to sixty miles per hour registered at Harry's weather station, continue to dominate the beginning of spring.’
    • ‘The wind was getting stronger, blowing up a real gale.’
    • ‘Along the southern coastline, many large swells are generated well south of the continent by strong westerly gales that can blow unimpeded for thousands of kilometres.’
    • ‘He remembered how he used to crawl into the older man's bed when he was very young, when things like thunderstorms and strong gales still frightened him.’
    • ‘This generated frequent heavy rains and fierce westerly gales: in some coastal areas there was significant wind damage as well as flooding.’
    • ‘Strong gales coming from a certain point could blow the roof away some night, he said.’
    • ‘Alone on high, the garden takes the full brunt of the northwester and northeaster gales.’
    • ‘Winds became gales and a thunderstorm suddenly appeared out of nowhere pouring sheets of raindrops.’
    • ‘One of the unusual things about this particular storm was that it was a southerly gale and not the usual westerly gales that tend to affect the south of Britain.’
    • ‘The weather was, overall, a mixed batch, varying from bright (chilly perhaps) sunshine, to snow, to strong winds and gales.’
    • ‘Strong gales of wind had begun to blow through the valley.’
    • ‘Winter approached with strong gales and several inches of snow, which covered the vast plains and farmland.’
    • ‘On the worst day, Wednesday 12 November, northwesterly gales caused exceptional dust-storms to sweep across three states.’
    • ‘An unusual feature of the month was the frequency of strong winds, with gale gusts recorded at most stations.’
    • ‘When I returned to the car and unloaded my bags, I found a single car key on a ring lying by the back right tire. I was tired, R. had been cranky, and the wind was blowing a gale.’
    storm, tempest, squall, hurricane, tornado, cyclone, typhoon, whirlwind, superstorm
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    1. 1.1(on the Beaufort scale) a wind of force 8 (34–40 knots or 63–74 km/h).
      • ‘It's been a roisterous time, filled with every strength and variety of wind from a ragamuffin breeze right through to a force eight gale, whipping in from the sea and over the moors.’
      • ‘More significantly, I ceased to notice the rain, the sleet and the force-10 gale.’
      • ‘Mind you, as long as you can stop them blowing away, you could enjoy these chips in anything from a refreshing sea breeze to a force-9 gale.’
      • ‘It was a force nine gale, a tad below a hurricane, and Rogue Wave was in a grand and powerful waltz.’
      • ‘In November 2000 they set off for a five-day training run and found themselves crewing the boat into the teeth of a force eight south-westerly gale.’
    2. 1.2A storm at sea.
      • ‘Trying to measure insulin in a small yacht in a gale shows just how diabetes brings its excitements and inconveniences.’
      • ‘It is true, though, that a few times each winter the harbor is hit by a southeasterly gale, its impact intensified by the fact that the harbor's open mouth faces in that direction.’
      • ‘They are winds that put the mind in tumult, sweeping us along like ships in a gale, and as storms disturb the harmony of nature, passions are discordant and jangling.’
      • ‘Fierce gales damaged many yachts in the Fastnet race and forced 100 to retire.’
      • ‘The weather is unpredictable, with violent gales and storms having resulted in countless shipping casualties over the years, continuing right up to the present.’
      • ‘At last he came near enough to where he was directly above it, and fighting against a hurricane-like gale to land.’
      • ‘The unscheduled delay was sparked when the ship ran into fierce gales which gave rise to seasickness among and several of the crew members.’
      • ‘She rocked from side to side, like a ship in a gale.’
      • ‘However, the shore angler in Ireland will always find sheltered waters available when others are affected by tides or gales.’
      • ‘Type 23 frigate HMS St Albans, damaged by a ferry in gales in the autumn, is back at sea today, well on course to resume her programme of trials and training.’
      • ‘Six were washed ashore in a gale and pieces are still visible on very low spring tides.’
      • ‘The service ended in 1903 when the Bowmore was torn from her moorings at Rosses Point during a gale, driven ashore on Oyster Island and wrecked.’
      • ‘One night in May, soon after the Adventure arrived back at Ngamotu, an anchor rope broke during a terrible gale and the ship washed up on the beach.’
      • ‘At the height of the gale, the harbourmaster radioed a coastguard on the spot and asked him to estimate the wind speed.’
      • ‘After main summer leave, the ship - which was damaged by a ferry during gales last autumn in Portsmouth Harbour - will be preparing for her first major deployment, which begins late this year.’
      • ‘Fleeing with other demoralized shreds of the Spanish Armada, the galley had sailed up the eastern coast of England, driven on ahead of the English fleet by gales and storms.’
      • ‘The weather in the Firth of Forth that day was night was described by Forth Coastguards as horrendous with gales, rough seas and freezing temperatures.’
      • ‘A dangerously weak link was accidentally discovered on the moorings of one yacht just the day before the gales struck.’
      • ‘The Aran Islands lifeboat had broken loose from its mooring in a gale at the beginning of November.’
      • ‘NorthLink blamed the exceptionally low tides and easterly gales, which left an insufficient depth of water at Aberdeen for vessels.’
      storm, tempest, squall, hurricane, tornado, cyclone, typhoon, whirlwind, superstorm
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  • 2An outburst of laughter.

    ‘she collapsed into gales of laughter’
    • ‘On Thursday, December 18th Kilmovee Community Centre was full of Christmas spirit and gales of laughter as the two one act plays were staged.’
    • ‘By way of proof that some human values are indeed universal, the crowd react to the sight of the hapless official retreating to a neutral corner for treatment between rounds with gales of delighted laughter.’
    • ‘He could be ferociously stern, and sometimes susceptible to melancholy, but stories about him are almost always attended by laughter, often gales of it.’
    • ‘Well, apparently after this was said, the place was rolling in gales of laughter for quite a few minutes.’
    • ‘The gales of laughter from the others wash over me.’
    • ‘A trial run at the pressure-sensitive, spinning scrub-brush sent my partner into gales of laughter and hysteria.’
    • ‘They broke into slightly tipsy gales of laughter.’
    • ‘Murray is laid back, good company and his chat is peppered with gales of laughter that is, as often as not, directed at his own jokes.’
    • ‘But their awestruck silence was soon replaced by gales of laughter when their teacher read the letter out loud.’
    • ‘By the time Fox was done speaking, the giggles had erupted into gales of laughter.’
    • ‘I blink in surprise and Sam and Ben burst into gales of laughter.’
    • ‘It induces, or used to induce until recently, gales of laughter.’
    • ‘I kept backtracking in the conversation, thinking I had offended her, only to be met with gales of laughter.’
    • ‘He did more than that: He whipped up gales of laughter with his recollection of how as a student (and a former journalist who knew his rights) he sued the old Yorkshire Evening Press for libel.’
    • ‘Hours after Jack the Knife had carved them up, most of the Disappeared were gathered in the parliament cafeteria, stunned and emitting occasional gales of manic laughter.’
    • ‘We were dying in gales of laughter on hearing this one.’
    • ‘Those words and the hearty gales of laughter that followed will linger in my memory forever.’
    • ‘To ask the question is to answer it - with gales of laughter.’
    • ‘Youth shouts with a laugh, and again, the band collapses in gales of laughter.’
    • ‘The anger of the home punters at this, gave way to double delight at the end of the following period, gales of laughter greeting the news of a 6-2 defeat for hated rivals Hibs at Rugby Park.’
    outburst, burst, eruption, explosion, effusion, attack, fit, paroxysm
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Mid 16th century: perhaps related to Old Norse galinn mad, frantic.