Definition of spindrift in English:



mass noun
  • 1Spray blown from the crests of waves by the wind.

    • ‘From the dark geometrical precision of its bridge, Ghyll Beck lopes downhill in long slants of water pelting spindrift spray and flooding, pure white, across the wide flat stones at the base of the waterfall.’
    • ‘Its contents smelled of Scottish mildew and stone, and spindrift, and stevedore's spilt beer, and untreated crate wood, and alien scents of faraway cargo, the wafture of seas and continents.’
    • ‘Its fury is unimaginable, white spindrift foaming and tumbling as Christopher shouts orders above the howling wind.’
    • ‘It's a fine day, the sun shining but the wind blowing spindrift sharp as staples.’
    • ‘I worked my way up, dutifully cleaning pro as I went and complaining loudly to no one in particular about the spindrift, steam and melt water on my glasses.’
    • ‘Everyone in England should see it from the deck of a wooden sailing ship, with a chill on the air and the taste of spindrift on their lips.’
    • ‘With childlike optimism, I'd pitched our tarp-tent as I would have in Colorado timber, and spindrift had squirted through every crack, coating everything with a layer of rime and soaking our sleeping bag.’
    • ‘Anachronisms and nautical howlers bombard the reader like spindrift in a Force 10 gale.’
    • ‘And through the spindrift the local surfers will don thick wetsuits, boots, gloves and hoods and paddle out into frigid North Atlantic swells to do what we all love best, catch a few waves.’
    shower, sprinkling, sprinkle, spritz, jet, mist, drizzle, droplets
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Driving snow or sand.
      • ‘At the top there was blue sky, but wind enough to lick fine spindrift snow from the lips of waist-deep drifts.’
      • ‘Plumes of spindrift were scouring the top, leaving nothing but a swooping white cleaver of ice.’
      • ‘The rocks were encased in crusted snow and the wind was driving spindrift across the open slopes.’
      • ‘We climb into a headwind that lashes spindrift in our eyes, blurring our vision with sweeping clouds of ice.’
      • ‘The cold, soft spindrift blew into my face as I crouched beside a boulder trying to strap crampons to my boots with frozen fingers.’
      • ‘Sitting on the ledge, looking up at the piles of spindrift snow just waiting to pour down my collar and into my gloves, I realized that I was maybe done for the day.’
      • ‘They're Yorkshiremen, you see, and their impressionable parts have been cured over the centuries, like Baffin Island blubber, by spindrift and coal smoke.’


Early 17th century (originally Scots): variant of spoondrift, from archaic spoon ‘run before wind or sea’ + the noun drift.