One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A hot, dry northwesterly wind blowing across the Persian Gulf in summer, typically causing sandstorms.
- ‘Paul's battalion lost five soldiers, the first four in a blinding sandstorm known as the 40-day shamal, or 40 days of wind.’
- ‘In the midwinter and early summer, the shamal - a north wind carrying sand and dust - blows fiercely.’
- ‘A shamal had been developing throughout the night.’
- ‘A shamal had formed in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley in southern Iraq and was moving south.’
- ‘My scenario wasn't sorcery, but the work of weather tables (avoid the shamals), as well as a logistics estimate on the time required to field an overwhelming U.S. combat force.’
Late 17th century: from Arabic šamāl ‘north (wind)’.
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