Definition of tornado in English:



  • 1A mobile, destructive vortex of violently rotating winds having the appearance of a funnel-shaped cloud and advancing beneath a large storm system.

    • ‘Coastal Plain longleaf pine forests are proximal to coastal storms, and thus have high probabilities of experiencing hurricanes, tornadoes, and other wind disturbances.’
    • ‘The thunderstorms that spin out tornadoes are big clouds with lots of water and ice in them to block sunlight.’
    • ‘These clouds often bring thunder and lightning, and can also bring funnel clouds or even tornadoes.’
    • ‘The storm spun off tornadoes as it churned northwest at 119 kph with winds that topped 193 kph, causing transformers to explode in the pre-dawn darkness.’
    • ‘The wind got stronger as clouds gathered and a tornado began to form.’
    • ‘The tornado, the overhead storm clouds and the city beneath all stood out in eerie green detail.’
    • ‘A tornado is a funnel-shaped cloud that descends on land, creating havoc and destruction in its wake.’
    • ‘Floods, especially flash floods, kill more people each year than hurricanes, tornadoes, wind storms or lightning.’
    • ‘As we taxied along I watched the vortices, like little tornadoes, sucking water off the ground beneath the engines and knew that, because of me, there was one less piece of FO on that airfield.’
    • ‘The cheapest forms of housing have proven most vulnerable to the high winds of tornadoes and hurricanes.’
    • ‘The tornado, a violently rotating column of air, extends from a thunderstorm to the ground.’
    • ‘Sudden and dramatic drops in barometric pressure are what produce the extremely high winds in tornadoes and hurricanes.’
    • ‘All of us along the Gulf Coast have had our hurricanes, we've had our tornadoes, wind storms, floods, you name it.’
    • ‘Treat all funnel clouds and tornadoes seriously and avoid when possible.’
    • ‘A hot day followed by an angry storm; sirens, menacing winds, boiling clouds, tornados, wall clouds, the whole magilla.’
    • ‘The funnel cloud associated with most tornadoes results from moisture condensing out of humid air as the vortex accelerates and the air pressure inside drops.’
    • ‘Through the solid walls the undefined shapes entered, swirling around like the wind and almost having the appearance of a tornado.’
    • ‘Red electricity crackled through the tornado, and the wind began to slow.’
    • ‘They found that instead of polarization, the new phase creates what the researchers call a toroid moment, which rotates in a circular fashion like a vortex or a tornado.’
    • ‘The threat equations model the destructive force of various-strength tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes - and bombs.’
    whirlwind, windstorm, cyclone, typhoon, tropical cyclone, tropical storm, tempest, dust devil, storm, superstorm, hurricane, gale, squall
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person or thing characterized by violent or devastating action or emotion.
      ‘teenagers caught up in a tornado of sexual confusion’
      • ‘He played the role of the tornado and wind of the Elders.’
      • ‘Jeanna's eye seemed to contain the savage winds of a tornado.’
      • ‘You're at your coolest and most collected when you're the eye of a tornado, surrounded by a frenzy of activity.’
      • ‘I smile weakly at him but behind the cool countenance there is a rumbling tornado of anger, fear, denial, regret, devastation and a certain element of guilt.’
      • ‘Despite the absence of Decira, the pace did not slow down a bit, and the world continued to spin, catching all who remained in its tornado of confusion.’
      • ‘The kaleidoscopic tornado of feelings clouded his mind.’
      • ‘It felt like a tornado of a thousand emotions was tearing away at my insides.’
      • ‘So what's next for Al, a role where he's just a deafening Tasmanian Devil-like tornado, spewing hoo-ha's and drops of midnight hair tonic?’
      • ‘You came and left like a tornado of emotions… and you forever marked my heart.’
      • ‘I wasn't about to enter into an explanation of the tornado of confusion that was engulfing my life right now.’
      • ‘It finally took a hard smack with Godzilla's tail to rouse him out of his glum state and knock us all over with a wind tornado of anger.’


Mid 16th century (denoting a violent thunderstorm of the tropical Atlantic Ocean): perhaps an alteration of Spanish tronada ‘thunderstorm’ (from tronar ‘to thunder’) by association with Spanish tornar ‘to turn’.