One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Poetic. A mountainous wave at sea.
2Meteorology. A body of turbulent air created on the lee side of a mountain when a strong wind meets it head on and is forced to rise over it.
Late 17th century; earliest use found in Nahum Tate (c1652–1715), poet, playwright, and translator. From mountain + wave.
mountain wave/ˈmaʊntɪn ˌweɪv/
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