Definition of cyclone in US English:



  • 1A system of winds rotating inward to an area of low atmospheric pressure, with a counterclockwise (northern hemisphere) or clockwise (southern hemisphere) circulation; a depression.

    • ‘He believes climate change is also increasing the severity of cyclones and hurricanes, which are now appearing in areas never seen before, and outside their normal weather pattern.’
    • ‘Madagascar's vanilla production has been adversely affected in recent years by a series of devastating cyclones.’
    • ‘Visitors were told how weather data which flow in continuously from around 500 weather stations all over the country are analysed, plotted on maps and then low pressure zones determined to forecast depressions and cyclones.’
    • ‘Hundreds fled to storm shelters in the remote northern Cook Islands yesterday as the fourth cyclone in a month lashed the South Pacific nation.’
    • ‘Japhet hit northern Mozambique last week and is the second cyclone to devastate the southern African country this year.’
    • ‘The cyclones and monsoons that already bring such damage to the area could become even more frequent and intense.’
    • ‘The country has a warm climate and often experiences devastating cyclones and hurricanes.’
    • ‘A cyclone in Bangladesh during 1991 caused 150,000 deaths.’
    • ‘The immediate cause of the famine is the drought in the southern part of the island and the cyclone that hit the east this year.’
    • ‘The coastal areas of Asia face future challenges: cyclones and their attendant surges will take an increasing toll as global warming disturbs weather systems.’
    • ‘During one trip to Mauritius I endured both a cyclone and a tropical storm in the space of a week, and saw enough rain to last me a lifetime.’
    • ‘Orissa was recently devastated by the deadliest cyclone of the century causing death and destruction on an unheard of scale.’
    • ‘Trends in tropical cyclone activity in the Australian region show that the total number of cyclones has decreased in recent decades.’
    • ‘An official from the meteorological office said forecasts indicated the cyclone could fizzle out before reaching Mozambique.’
    • ‘Heavy rain and high winds, sometimes of destructive strength, can be experienced along the coast within several hundred kilometres of the centre of a cyclone.’
    • ‘At the time of writing there is no report of damage from Orissa, another coastal state very susceptible to hurricanes and cyclones.’
    • ‘Each year, the tropics are battered by up to 40 hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones, while floods and landslides occur everywhere in numbers too great to keep track of.’
    • ‘The year 1918 was noteworthy in northern Queensland for two of the worst cyclones in the country's history.’
    • ‘As cyclones move inland, they form rain depressions and are an important source of rain.’
    • ‘A cyclone tore into India's southeastern coast yesterday, killing 11 people, officials said.’
    1. 1.1
      another term for tropical storm
      • ‘We are all used to cyclones and storms lashing Florida and the surroundings.’
      • ‘Climate extremes like flood, fire, cyclones and drought cause major impacts that can be minimised more effectively with climate forecasting.’
      • ‘Heatwaves, cyclones, and floods, will become more frequent and intense.’
      • ‘The thin-framed, moveable glass walls were engineered to be resistant to tropical storms and cyclones.’
      • ‘The meteorological satellite launched last year seeks to aid the forecast of severe weather events such as cyclones and storms.’
      • ‘Dunes are a first line of defence for the canopy forest, not only against the ravages of storms or cyclones, but against the harmful salt spray under normal conditions.’
      • ‘As well as facing a severe economic crisis, over the past two years the island has been hit by serious flooding due to tropical storms and cyclones that have devastated agricultural production.’
      • ‘Hurricanes and other cyclones that form in the tropics during summer and fall are very different from the extratropical storms that often form during winter even though both can produce very strong winds and flooding rain.’
      • ‘Due to the intensive rainfall and high temperatures, disastrous weather such as thunder storms and cyclones are likely to occur.’
      • ‘Already we are witnessing numerous irregularities and disturbances in the climatic system - heat waves, floods, squalls, storms, cyclones and thunderstorms.’
      • ‘Extreme weather events like floods, storms, and cyclones were predicted to rise as global warming disrupted weather patterns.’
      hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, storm, superstorm, tornado, windstorm, whirlwind, tempest
      View synonyms


Mid 19th century: probably from Greek kuklōma ‘wheel, coil of a snake’, from kuklos ‘circle’. The change of spelling from -m to -n is unexplained.