Definition of harmattan in English:



  • A very dry, dusty easterly or north-easterly wind on the West African coast, occurring from December to February.

    • ‘The savanna lands (grassy plains) of the northern regions face harmattan (dust-laden) winds for four months each year.’
    • ‘During the harmattan, a cool, dusty wind from the Sahara grays the skies.’
    • ‘Rainfall records are spotty, but other worrisome developments - changes in flora and the more frequent appearance of harmattan dust - point to a serious decline in moisture levels.’
    • ‘It is subject to constant dust-laden winds variously known as sirocco, khamsin, simoom and harmattan.’
    • ‘In winter the drying harmattan wind blows from the interior.’


Late 17th century: from Akan haramata.