One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An oppressive, hot southerly or south-easterly wind blowing in Egypt in spring.
- ‘There is also a great description of a khamsin, the sandstorm wind, and I can vouch for Sussman's accuracy, having been terrified silly by enduring such a phenomenon myself, even though I was in the comparative safety of Cairo.’
- ‘This year, there were some days of hamsin before Yom Kippur, but the holiday itself was quite moderate: hot but not really unpleasant.’
- ‘It's the hamsin - which means ‘fifty’ in Arabic - the sand-laden sirocco that blows in from the Egyptian desert and can, legend says, last for 50 days.’
- ‘It is subject to constant dust-laden winds variously known as sirocco, khamsin, simoom and harmattan.’
- ‘The summer hamsin offers none of the delight of the winter version - it's like living and breathing in an oven.’
- ‘There is no vegetation here and the swirling winds are almost as intense as the khamsins in the Sahara.’
- ‘There is virtually no rain, and little chance of khamsins, the infamous desert sandstorms that begin in mid - to late March and coat the Nile, its shores and inhabitants with layers of sticky sand.’
- ‘The Santa Ana is a foehn wind, Didion explains, that blows over the angels like the hamsin in Israel - a hot wind that rolls dryly from the mountains and brings nausea, illness and ill-temper in its wake.’
- ‘We were greeted by a hot blast of air - not the Egyptian khamsin, the spring desert wind, but warmth generated by a stove that had been cranked all day in a 150-square-foot space.’
- ‘However, an even summer and autumn - without the hamsins, a hazard in this part of the world - and lower yields have ensured a high quality vintage.’
- ‘Fierce winds - the khamsin and the ghibli - threw dust into men's faces, obscuring the battlefield.’
- ‘I have heard many complaints and many solutions to problems with exhaust fumes in khamsins.’
- ‘The strong hot desert winds, the khamsins, with their associated sandstorms, added to the discomfort.’
- ‘But, however unattractive, the camel is functional, with its webbed hooves, reluctant thirst and double eyelids for protection from the hamsins, the infamous desert sand storms.’
Late 17th century: from Arabic khamsīn, from khamsūn ‘fifty’ (being the approximate duration in days).
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