Definition of mistral in English:


Pronunciation /mɪˈstrɑːl//ˈmɪstr(ə)l/


  • A strong cold north-westerly wind that blows through the Rhône valley and southern France towards the Mediterranean, mainly in winter.

    • ‘The ruins of the castle remain atop the hill but provide little protection from the relentless mistral, which constantly whips through its now-exposed cavity.’
    • ‘Except when I was there the mistral - a heavy, gusty wind - blew five days running.’
    • ‘The mistral has killed all the land lines in his bit of France, he said.’
    • ‘Below me, vineyards, olive groves, and fields of lavender shudder in the mistral, the north wind that blows relentlessly for spells of three, six, or nine days, then evaporates.’
    • ‘The mistral of the southern Rhône is one of the more notorious examples of this.’
    • ‘Spring and summer can bring the hot, dusty sirocco wind from the Sahara to Malta, Italy and Greece, while France sometimes gets the strong mistral, and the ghibli blows across from north-west Africa towards Spain.’
    • ‘It's warm to hot in the south and Corsica, but the mistral can blow fiercely in summer making Mediterranean seas too rough for diving.’
    • ‘However, the mistral which has been particularly strong lately has blown one of the gates off its mountings.’
    • ‘For one thing the mistral was blowing so it was bitterly cold up at the ornately decorated Basillica although down by the old harbour it was so warm that we were able to have lunch in the open air.’
    • ‘In Provence, he even appreciates the icy gusts of the mistral rattling the naked olive trees.’
    • ‘And had the mistral been blowing any stronger diving might have been off the menu, and on such a long trip it would have taken more even than fine French food and wine to console us.’
    • ‘The weather is dramatic: a stunning pink and gold sunrise, followed by a day and a night of howling mistral, flurries of snow, then blazing sun and crisp cold.’


Early 17th century: French, from Provençal, from Latin magistralis (ventus), literally ‘master wind’.