Main definitions of wind in English

: wind1wind2



  • 1The perceptible natural movement of the air, especially in the form of a current of air blowing from a particular direction.

    ‘the wind howled about the building’
    ‘an easterly wind’
    mass noun ‘gusts of wind’
    • ‘If these winds blew the same direction all the time, the dunes would line up crosswise to the breeze.’
    • ‘Easterly winds predominate near the equator and also in the lower atmosphere at the poles.’
    • ‘Snow slurries were expected to leave the region shivering today, with the promise of raw northerly winds, possibly gale force, blowing into tomorrow.’
    • ‘It is believed that they have picked up metals blown off the bombing range by the strong easterly winds that regularly blow across the island.’
    • ‘The wind blows in different directions within the cloud and forms a funnel.’
    • ‘Can they move it up and down in altitude to catch winds blowing in different directions?’
    • ‘Cars were damaged by debris being blown around in the wind and torrential rain.’
    • ‘The south-westerly monsoon winds bring copious amounts of rain from June onwards.’
    • ‘On occasion, severe frosts, biting easterly winds and snowfall can result in winter casualties.’
    • ‘Circular exclusion zones around contaminated farms will mean nothing if there is a strong wind blowing in one direction.’
    • ‘Hours of rain accompanied by strong gale force winds of up to 80 mph contributed to some of the most adverse weather conditions the area has seen in decades.’
    • ‘The wind howled from a south westerly direction making the weather feel quite warm for the time of the year.’
    • ‘Certainly the curtains moved when the wind blew from one direction or the other.’
    • ‘The pollen count in the Midlands has very little dependency on the direction the winds are coming from.’
    • ‘Strong winds blowing in the direction of the arrow keep air confined in the vortex.’
    • ‘When the mistral winds blow it is particularly chilly, so a property with some kind of central heating is a necessity.’
    • ‘It is subject to constant dust-laden winds variously known as sirocco, khamsin, simoom and harmattan.’
    • ‘Strong winds blow a sandstorm through the camp when suddenly the sound of large artillery rounds is heard about 300 meters away.’
    • ‘Conditions were poor with bright sunshine and north easterly winds.’
    • ‘The weather might change if the winds turn easterly or southerly.’
    1. 1.1 Used in reference to an impending situation.
      ‘he had seen which way the wind was blowing’
      • ‘The vibes coming out of the company suggest that radical change is not in the wind.’
      • ‘There's trouble in the wind.’
      • ‘Even media moguls like him are beginning to feel the chill wind of recession.’
      on the way, coming, about to happen, in the offing, in the air, close at hand, on the horizon, approaching, imminent, impending, looming, brewing, afoot
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 The rush of air caused by a fast-moving body.
      • ‘It lands so quietly, you can only hear the rush of the wind in the top of the trees.’
    3. 1.3 A scent carried by the wind, indicating the presence or proximity of an animal or person.
  • 2mass noun Breath as needed in physical exertion, speech, etc., or the power of breathing without difficulty in such situations.

    ‘he waited while Jez got his wind back’
    ‘she hit the floor with a thud that knocked the wind out of her’
    • ‘The wind came rushing out of her, and she was left gasping for air.’
    • ‘Jackson repeated the chorus twice more before they all put down their instruments and left me with my wind knocked out.’
    • ‘Not many singers have the wind to make it all the way to the end.’
    • ‘A hand flew across my face, and I crashed to the ground, the wind rushing out of me so hard I choked.’
    • ‘She landed with a thud, and rolled, tucking her feet underneath her as the wind rushed out of her again.’
    • ‘He gave out an involuntary sigh as the wind rushed from his lungs and he dropped to his knees.’
    • ‘The wind was knocked out of her, and she lay gasping for breath.’
    • ‘The wind was knocked out of her for the second time in five minutes.’
  • 3British mass noun Air swallowed while eating or gas generated in the stomach and intestines by digestion.

    • ‘In the longer term, some people experience ongoing abdominal symptoms, such as pain, bloating, wind and diarrhoea.’
    • ‘It is reputed as a drug which dispels wind from the stomach and counteracts spasmodic disorders.’
    • ‘The fruit, its oils and the kernel were traditionally used to treat severe acid stomach, excess wind, fatigue after menstruation and the common cold.’
    • ‘But there are other possible causes such as wind or stomach ulcers.’
    • ‘It is generally relieved by passing wind or actually having a bowel movement.’
    • ‘Due to weakness of bladder and stomach I experience involuntary discharge of urine and wind.’
    • ‘You may also experience an increase in wind at first but this will settle.’
    • ‘Other symptoms include a bloated abdomen, excess wind, nausea, vomiting and indigestion.’
    • ‘Certain foods may cause excess wind, including pulses (peas, beans, etc.), dried fruit and peanuts.’
    • ‘Do not be tempted to add solid foods to your baby's bottle feed in an attempt to help them sleep at night, as this can cause wind and colic.’
    • ‘Do you ever lose control of wind or bowel motions from your back passage between visits to the toilet?’
    • ‘Some babies may need help in bringing up wind after a feed.’
    • ‘People with a predominance of phlegm are generally healthy, whereas those with predominance of bile or wind are always of indifferent health.’
    • ‘A medicine called dimeticone is available to relieve trapped wind.’
    • ‘Some antacids also contain ingredients that relieve the symptoms of gas or trapped wind.’
    • ‘Her abdominal pain felt like ‘trapped wind,’ becoming progressively worse throughout the day.’
    • ‘Eggs and fish often cause problems with bad smells, and fizzy drinks and beer produce excess wind and runny motions.’
    • ‘Even the slightest pressure from clothing, bedsheets or wind may elicit pain.’
    • ‘These foods encourage the production of wind, and may aggravate colic.’
    • ‘This may briefly cause pains similar to having wind and the urge to go to the toilet, but as the colon is empty, this will not be possible.’
    flatulence, flatus, gas
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 Empty, pompous, or boastful talk; meaningless rhetoric.
      • ‘So, in other words, another international confluence of hot wind and gassy rhetoric thus comes to pass.’
      • ‘Get real; your councillors say lots of things but like your counterparts in Government, you're all wind and air.’
      • ‘She is just full of wind and hot air.’
      • ‘It was, of course, all empty wind and unfounded wailing, but it still had an impact.’
      • ‘It was all wind and hot air as they promised to smash the state, smash the administration, smash this, smash that.’
      nonsense, balderdash, gibberish, claptrap, blarney, blather, blether
      View synonyms
  • 4also windstreated as singular or plural Wind instruments, or specifically woodwind instruments, forming a band or a section of an orchestra.

    ‘these passages are most suitable for wind alone’
    as modifier ‘wind players’
    • ‘Aside from some frayed wind intonation, the orchestra played with rich, sonorous beauty.’
    • ‘The string players grinned, but the wind section simply fell apart.’
    • ‘Ensembles of three to six players of string, wind or mixed instruments are included.’
    • ‘These pieces will provide a fun, challenging ensemble experience for any music class - vocal, piano, strings or winds.’
    • ‘The BPO are clearly enjoying themselves with some players losing strings and the winds thoroughly in harmony.’
    • ‘For those interested in band or wind music, this set is essential; for others this is at least very intriguing.’
    • ‘Holst had written at least two earlier chamber works featuring winds, but these represent his first mature productions.’
    • ‘There are no cellos, a disproportionately large number of double-basses, and big brass and wind sections but no oboes and bassoons.’
    • ‘A violinist himself, he got wonderful sounds from his strings, and he made sure that the winds and brass of the Philadelphia were as good as any.’
    • ‘Written for wind orchestra and soloist, this is less a partnership of equals than of antagonists, with much brittleness in the music.’
    • ‘However, despite a balance that favors the orchestral winds, the sound is not bad at all.’
    • ‘Charles Gounod's Petite symphonie is scored for flute and eight winds.’
    • ‘The movement builds to two main climaxes, introduced by two fugal passages - the first led by strings, the second by winds.’
    • ‘More often than not, while the strings and winds benefit, the piano sounds as if it were bellowing forth from far away and under water.’
    • ‘A jug band is essentially a string band with a wind section - harmonica, kazoos, and the jug, of course.’
    • ‘The term is also used of a number of other large ensembles including dance orchestras, jazz orchestras, and wind orchestras.’
    • ‘A platform is rigged toward the back of the stage rising over the winds and brass sections for the vocalists.’
    • ‘Nothing, until the fugal entries of the main theme in the winds, really takes off.’
    • ‘However, we also are eager to add intermediate-level chamber music for any combination of strings, winds or voice without piano.’
    • ‘The two concertos feature wind players from Beecham's Royal Philharmonic.’
    wind instruments.
    View synonyms


[with object]
  • 1Cause (someone) to have difficulty breathing because of exertion or a blow to the stomach.

    ‘the fall nearly winded him’
    • ‘Chris quickly kicked me hard in the stomach, winding me badly.’
    • ‘Pain shot through her stomach as someone kicked her, winding her.’
    • ‘I was about to throw a punch to the boy's stomach to wind him, when I suddenly felt it myself.’
    • ‘Mr Wilkinson then felt a second blow in his ribs which winded him.’
    • ‘He somehow managed to stay standing despite being winded by the blow.’
    • ‘Donna winced in pain, and spinning round, kicked out at Mark's stomach, momentarily winding him.’
    • ‘All three were somewhat winded from their exertions.’
    • ‘At the end of the reel I was winded and tired, breathlessly cheering and clapping with the rest of the people.’
    • ‘She dodged his extremely slow blows and sank her fist into his stomach, winding him.’
    • ‘I was hoping to slow it down a bit but I wasn't thinking straight because I was just winded from all the activity.’
    • ‘We did take the dogs for a short walk yesterday and I was winded after 1/2 a mile. It was disappointing, but it was nice to get outside.’
    • ‘He feinted and I took the bait as he kicked me hard in the stomach, winding me yet again.’
    • ‘For a few minutes I am too winded to notice anything.’
    • ‘Instead of hitting the man's chest, Carl winded him again by hitting him in the stomach.’
    • ‘Emilia did not want to hear that, and she kicked Tom in the stomach, winding him.’
    • ‘And then Sean punched him in the stomach, winding him completely.’
    • ‘One man barged in between me and Jim, knocking us apart and winding me.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, his partner grabbed the boy and punched him in the stomach, winding him.’
    • ‘Happily she was winded rather than wounded and suffered no more than bruising.’
    • ‘All dignity gone, all control gone, because you are winded and gasping for breath.’
    out of breath, breathless, gasping for breath, panting, puffing, huffing and puffing, puffing and blowing
    View synonyms
  • 2British Make (a baby) bring up wind after feeding by patting its back.

    ‘Paddy's wife handed him their six-month-old daughter to be winded’
    • ‘Wendy had to show her how to feed, wind and bath the baby and left him alone with her only if she went shopping.’
  • 3Detect the presence of (a person or animal) by scent.

    ‘the birds could not have seen us or winded us’
  • 4literary Sound (a bugle or call) by blowing.

    ‘but scarce again his horn he wound’


  • before the wind

    • With the wind blowing from astern.

      ‘a white-hulled yacht ran before the wind’
      • ‘Several days out, however, a storm arose and the vessel was driven before the wind in a constant southerly direction, headed toward the South Pole.’
      • ‘Wind shrieked through the rigging as the mast groaned under the strain of its huge triangular sail that drove the vessel before the wind, its rigging taught as harp strings.’
      • ‘The wind blew from the north and the ship ran swiftly before the wind.’
      • ‘On the water, however, sailing close-hauled may feel faster, primarily because the boat is heeling over, but you move more quickly in the upright position, running before the wind.’
      • ‘Sails were down and it was running under bare poles before the wind.’
  • get wind of

    • informal Begin to suspect that (something) is happening; hear a rumour of.

      ‘Mortimer got wind of a plot being hatched’
      • ‘We can't say anything yet, otherwise the suspects will get wind of what we're doing.’
      • ‘The only fall-out of this episode was that the management, also having got wind of the rumour, quickly embedded the canvas in an ugly plastic case.’
      • ‘The extras got wind of what was going on, and they started to revolt.’
      • ‘I just happened to get wind of this discussion while surfing the Web.’
      • ‘When I got wind of what happened, I quit my job and drove the 900 miles from New Orleans to Key West in one go.’
      • ‘He shows up at pretty much any event his office gets wind of.’
      • ‘A lot of people don't advertise it - it's not something you want teachers and people to get wind of.’
      • ‘It would be risky; if he got wind of what she was up to, that would be it for her.’
      • ‘Jane was the best person to confide in but I knew once she got wind of what happened on New Year's Eve she'd be scheming again.’
      • ‘The warring factions got wind of what he was going to do.’
      hear about, hear of, learn of, find out about, become aware of, be made aware of, be told about, be informed of, hear tell of, have brought to one's notice
      View synonyms
  • it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good

    • proverb Few things are so bad that no one profits from them.

      • ‘And yet, it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.’
      • ‘Maybe we'll just wait for the catastrophe and anyway, it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.’
      • ‘Who says it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good?’
      • ‘Showing that it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good, the philosophically horrible movie version of the book has dragged me off my butt and gotten me to reread The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.’
      • ‘Not surprisingly many of the subjects of these experiments ended up mad as hatters but they did provide useful samples for us, so it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.’
      • ‘But it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good, as they say, and I've discovered an excellent replacement taxi service.’
      • ‘So it seems to be true that it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.’
      • ‘Mr Sharp's view of matters, that summer, must have been that it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good!’
  • which way the wind is blowing

    • How the current situation is likely to develop.

      ‘those politicians know which way the wind is blowing amongst their voters’
      • ‘During this dark time for video games, only one company seems to have noticed which way the wind is blowing.’
      • ‘Such a swing of opinion reflects the people's tendency to change tack depending on which way the wind is blowing.’
      • ‘All three parties try to gauge which way the wind is blowing.’
      • ‘Unions know which way the wind is blowing, and while they remain opposed to a break-up, they realise that structural change is on the way.’
      • ‘The wealthy elites who make up the governing class can see which way the wind is blowing.’
  • like the wind

    • Very quickly.

      ‘she ran like the wind back to the house’
      • ‘He runs like the wind and has the moral outrage of a man who believes it is his duty to save the world.’
      • ‘And then something clicked in my brain and I began to run like the wind.’
      • ‘Jo had the talent, and could run like the wind.’
      • ‘Mind you, I'm aiming to run like the wind to get to that finishing post first.’
      • ‘Just over 40 years ago, at a students' sports meet on a lovely summer day, he ran like the wind, and shone like a star.’
      • ‘For some reason I still felt a need to salvage some dignity, so I ran like the wind.’
      • ‘He moved like the wind, launching a full-out attack.’
      • ‘This is all that is left of the glory days, when she ran like the wind all over the world.’
      • ‘Take the best horse from my stable and ride like the wind.’
      • ‘Sun spiders are also know as windspiders and windscorpions so called because they can run like the wind.’
  • off the wind

    • With the wind on the quarter.

      • ‘We sail with the main sail and a jib sail, about 135 degrees off the wind.’
      • ‘Her performance off the wind is very good, and the full keel and centerboard make the boat easy to balance and comfortable to sail on beam and broad reaches.’
      • ‘I'll describe the touch-and-go struggle to keep the boat pointed just enough off the wind to maintain headway, and the jackhammer pounding of a madly luffing mainsail trying to spill a 75-knot gale.’
      • ‘The age-old side rudder also gave place to the stern-post rudder aligned on the keel, facilitating steering a few points off the wind.’
  • on a wind

    • Against a wind on either bow.

  • put (or have) the wind up

    • informal Alarm or frighten (or be alarmed or frightened)

      ‘Frank was trying to put the wind up him so that he would be too agitated to think clearly’
      • ‘Others, presumably to put the wind up a middle-class academic, exaggerated their crimes.’
      • ‘The section of the speech on crime should have put the wind up anyone with even the smallest affection for civil liberties, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.’
      • ‘But his chances of election have put the wind up the US Congress.’
      • ‘Young, thrusting and ambitious, the partnership had put the wind up some of the crustier firms of Scottish beancounters.’
      • ‘The company, which was a novice to the home loan business only a year ago, has put the wind up traditional lenders with the success of its simple and flexible loan.’
      • ‘I won't give the game away here, but it's nothing to put the wind up your maiden aunt.’
      • ‘Focused on fast ships capable of 31 knots, this has put the wind up rivals, few of which have the resources to match this kind of investment.’
      • ‘I reckon he's trying to put the wind up the competition from the off.’
      • ‘A kestrel wheeled over the larches and put the wind up the wood pigeons.’
      • ‘Spending ten minutes putting the wind up pregnant women about epidurals doesn't help things, especially when she admitted that 50% of women at the hospital end up having one.’
      scare, frighten, make afraid, make nervous, throw into a panic, panic, alarm, unnerve
      View synonyms
  • sail close to (or near) the wind

    • 1Sailing
      Sail as nearly against the wind as is consistent with using its force.

    • 2Verge on indecency, dishonesty, or disaster.

      • ‘People were invited and encouraged to sail close to the winds of slander as the show and the presenter sought out audience share.’
      • ‘Some of the singing was a little weak and difficult to hear in parts and there were perhaps a few too many gags, one in particular sailing a little close to the wind.’
      run a risk, live dangerously, play with fire, sail close to the wind, risk it
      View synonyms
  • take the wind out of someone's sails

    • Frustrate someone by unexpectedly anticipating an action or remark.

      • ‘The only thing that managed to take the wind out of my sails was when he asked me to divide it equally amongst the children.’
      • ‘Whatever denial she was about to say make died as that little comment took the wind out of her sails.’
      • ‘Maybe he spotted the wedding ring on my finger and that took the wind out of his sails, so he decided to tease me instead.’
      • ‘I think that completely took the wind out of their sails.’
      • ‘He knew, too, that the move would take the wind out of the opposition's sails.’
      • ‘I heard something today which really took the wind out of my sails.’
      • ‘I read this right before entering college and it took the wind out of my sails.’
      • ‘I have to admit that new tack of his took the wind out of my sails a bit.’
      • ‘This tiny bit of information took the wind out of my sails.’
      • ‘Layoffs, breakups, accidents - any number of life events can take the wind out of your sails.’
  • to the wind(s)(or the four winds)

    • 1In all directions.

      ‘my little flock scatters to the four winds’
      • ‘However, the rest of our family was scattered to the four winds, so a visit was always a major trek.’
      • ‘No sooner does a season end than players begin scattering to the four winds.’
      • ‘All our children are being split up and scattered to the four winds.’
      • ‘That's what happens to exiles; they are scattered to the four winds and then find it extremely difficult to get back together again.’
      • ‘I slammed on the brakes and this group of youths, which included girls, just scattered to the four winds.’
      • ‘When they have finished their final reports on their internships, the four women are planning to scatter to the four winds.’
      • ‘Now with many of my friends scattered to the four winds and unaccounted for, I think I've come closer than I ever wanted.’
      • ‘Families had been scattered to the four winds and the ramifications of that legacy of broken lineages and uncertain pasts is still felt today, an open wound in history.’
      • ‘The view was that it was no loss if they were scattered to the four winds where they could no longer cause as much trouble any more.’
      • ‘The town's 500,000 inhabitants have scattered to the four winds.’
      1. 1.1So as to be abandoned or neglected.
        ‘I threw my friends' advice to the winds’
        • ‘So why not throw caution to the wind and call an early vote?’
        • ‘Another couple shared the cab with us, all of us casting our New York-trained suspiciousness of strangers to the winds.’
        • ‘In this utterly confused scenario where both science and policy have been thrown to the winds, there are those who are arguing that the farmers might as well enjoy a few good harvests, even if the crops were to fail later.’
        • ‘Yet when the temperatures go through the roof at home we tend to throw caution to the wind and abandon ourselves to the damaging rays.’
        • ‘We were alone in the room and I threw schoolhouse etiquette to the winds and used his first name.’
        • ‘Westernizing young Japanese, in contrast, are starting to throw cultural restraint to the winds and eat whatever whenever they're hungry, even if it's on the street, the train, wherever.’
        • ‘But the food had been so good thus far that I was persuaded that even this dreaded dessert would be a winner - and how glad I am that I threw my prejudices to the winds.’
        • ‘One day many years ago, some friends of mine and I threw caution to the wind and attended a secret, forbidden event.’
        • ‘Here's a flick that throws all caution to the wind and winds up being truly a unique moviegoing experience.’
        • ‘Though there are laws to ensure that every industry should have its own recycling plant and that effluents should not be dumped into water bodies, the rule is often thrown to the winds by many industries.’
  • wind of change

    • An influence or tendency that cannot be resisted.

      ‘the winds of change are blowing through agriculture’
      • ‘The wind of change also blew through French Africa, and under President Charles de Gaulle, France withdrew from empire, while attempting to preserve its influence by means of the French Union and later the French Community.’
      • ‘The 32 year-old said he has been deeply affected by the wind of change that has swept through the national team - both on and off the pitch.’
      • ‘The Soviet Union had imploded, the Berlin Wall had come tumbling down, and Africans were not indifferent to these winds of change.’
      • ‘But the end of rationing and other wartime restrictions and a shortage in the labour market led to a wind of change in gender politics.’
      • ‘Then came the nineties; the doors of the economy were thrown open to winds of change from the global scene.’
      • ‘The winds of change blowing through Cairo could sweep away quite a few regimes in the region.’
      • ‘However, thanks to the winds of change that swept Eastern Europe and Africa in the early 1990s, democracies are emerging, giving hope to a continent that has suffered for so long.’
      • ‘Moreover, it comes at a time when science itself is being battered by the winds of change.’
      • ‘Time has pulled back the veil and what we see is an ego, full of himself, floundering in the winds of change.’
      • ‘We'll go back in time to see what's driving the winds of change across the continent.’


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wind and German Wind, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin ventus.




Main definitions of wind in English

: wind1wind2



  • 1no object, with adverbial of direction Move in or take a twisting or spiral course.

    ‘the path wound among olive trees’
    • ‘The Lincoln Boyhood Nature Trail is a circular trail, approximately one mile in length, which winds through a natural reforested area.’
    • ‘At the end of the first day's hike, we wound our way down a dirt road to an open clearing where the evening sun shone golden on the fronts of old decaying buildings around a large grassy field.’
    • ‘Time seemed to pass slowly as they wound their way from the base to Santa Barbara.’
    • ‘They then approach along a path that winds among lush landscaping, keeping the porch's clean, strong lines always in sight.’
    • ‘I stroll up the narrow path that winds around the small hills to the school.’
    • ‘Off the beaten path on the southern tip of Jersey, this course winds through an arboretum and 50-acre bird sanctuary.’
    • ‘This narrow route carved into the side of the mountains winds its way through Logan's Pass and across the Continental Divide.’
    • ‘The road to her home winds past streams of raw sewage.’
    • ‘A path winds through the gardens to fairy-tale-style cottages, each with its own veranda and swing.’
    • ‘Little tarmac roads wound between the trees and little front and rear gardens were packed with small bushes that gave each property a feeling of seclusion.’
    • ‘The path winds through a legion of eerie stone figures, some towering 100 feet above.’
    • ‘The path thinned out now as it wound past the private beach of a local five star hotel.’
    • ‘As I wound my way down a little path, with jewellery and clothing shops on either side, I spotted a tiny little shop that made me look twice.’
    • ‘Paths made from mosaic pebbles and broken paving stones will wind through forest glades, leading the visitor to secret places and moonlit grottoes.’
    • ‘Ten miles of bike paths wind through the property and link up with a more extensive regional trail network.’
    • ‘The ground sloped down to a stream winding between alders and willows, where children play on summer evenings, enjoying the sort of idyllic childhood we would all want for our offspring.’
    • ‘In the cradle of the Rocky Mountains, sprawled out like a giant picnic over the foothills, Calgary has the beautiful Bow River winding through its core.’
    • ‘The garden itself was just a path that wound among clusters of aspen trees along the flank of a grassy foothill.’
    • ‘The path was endless, constantly winding downward in a spiral.’
    • ‘It's divided into three sections with a path winding all the way through.’
    twist and turn, twist, turn, bend, curve, loop, zigzag, weave, snake, meander, ramble
    View synonyms
  • 2with object and adverbial Pass (something) round a thing or person so as to encircle or enfold.

    ‘he wound a towel around his midriff’
    • ‘I picked up a strand of his long brown hair, and wound it round my finger.’
    • ‘He was bound to a stretcher with heavy duct tape, which was wound around his chest, upper arms, shoulders, ankles and the stretcher itself.’
    • ‘Laura, my guide for the day, pulls down the scarf that's wound round her face, and leans into my ear.’
    • ‘Cattle, we found, like the grass long, so that they can wind it round their tongues.’
    • ‘The accordion player played for the children as they wound their colourful ribbons round the maypole.’
    • ‘So I put on my hat and Ems wound her scarf around her head and we went back out into the rain and east along the river until we found a pub where we stopped for a disappointing lunch.’
    • ‘A blue mohair scarf was wound tightly round her neck, almost covering her face, and she pulled it away to speak.’
    • ‘She wound her long blue wool scarf around her throat and wheeled herself into the night.’
    • ‘Mr Wells had hooked a large flatfish which he thought was a skate, but it turned out to be a stingray and it wound its tail round his arm and stuck a four-inch spike into him.’
    • ‘The little dog was found with a cord tightly wound around its neck.’
    • ‘To hide my bare shoulders, I wound a light blue cotton cape around my neck, securing it with a bow.’
    • ‘Erin was quiet for a long minute, winding the blanket round her fingers.’
    • ‘The mammies all wore the brightly coloured cloths wound tightly round their ample figures, and turban-like round their heads.’
    • ‘I tear off a long strip and wind it round Leo's wounded shoulder.’
    • ‘Then there are long strands of beads and weird exotic flowers in deep colours to wind around trees, banisters, mantelpieces and even table napkins.’
    • ‘She saw he always wore the same pair of worn sneakers - ones with duct tape wound about them, to keep the soles in place.’
    • ‘Coloured tape is wound round the fingers of his left hand.’
    wrap, furl, fold
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Repeatedly twist or coil (a length of something) round itself or a core.
      ‘Anne wound the wool into a ball’
      • ‘Once this is dry, fine threads of beeswax are tightly wound around it.’
      • ‘Also on display on the cart are accessories once familiar to thousands of East Lancashire weavers - shuttles on which weft yarn was wound.’
      • ‘There was a lot of business of selecting a kite from the stack, attaching the string, making sure the string was correctly wound on the big wooden spools.’
      • ‘When the required number of strands are wound on, finish the thread by winding it around and down the finish post.’
      • ‘The patented delay line detector features three pairs of low resistance wires wound around a hexagonal support.’
      • ‘Most films ran ten minutes or less, reflecting the amount of film that could be wound on a standard reel.’
      • ‘I watched my grandma pull the fur, twist it around the spool and wind it into a ball.’
      • ‘The hair was wound on small rods and the perms were very firm and curly.’
      • ‘The wire can be wound around the axis of the disc to reinforce the initial field.’
      • ‘A helical scan tape will gradually be wound around a rotating drum causing dust to be dragged in between the tape and the head.’
      • ‘I also wound the two long power cables around the length of the printer cable and secured them with a fair number cable ties.’
      • ‘Pull out a foot or two of thread and wind it immediately around one iron hook and hang the hook again into the final row of woven cloth.’
      • ‘The ingenuity of the contraption was that a string was wound around the alarm winder and the other end tied to the bolt.’
      • ‘These devices are usually quite large; assembled from coils wound onto magnetic cores.’
      • ‘Silk is spooled off large reels along the top and two, four or six strands are wound together onto spindles at the bottom, making a stronger yarn.’
      • ‘I even wound a 10-foot length of parachute cord around my hiking staff.’
      • ‘The cable includes armor wires wound around the corrugated-wall tube.’
      • ‘At China's Hang Zhou Silk Factory, the yarn is reeled, graded, color coded by a temporary dye, twisted, washed and wound into skeins.’
      • ‘In the earliest days, the photographer had to wind 35 mm film into reusable cartridges himself, and cut the film leader.’
      • ‘The woven threads were wound on a device called a Niddy Noddy or more simply a yarn winder.’
      coil, roll, twist, twine
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2no object, with adverbial Be twisted or coiled.
      ‘large vines wound round every tree’
      • ‘The gradual twist of the body may be likened to certain movements in nature, such as that of a vine winding around a tree.’
      • ‘Pale vines wound over what looked to be emerald-green alabaster.’
      • ‘They lived in open-air houses that wound around trees.’
    3. 2.3 Wrap or surround (a core) with a coiled length of something.
      ‘devices wound with copper wire’
  • 3with object Make (a clock or other device, typically one operated by clockwork) operate by turning a key or handle.

    ‘he wound up the clock every Saturday night’
    ‘she was winding the gramophone’
    • ‘The original watchmaker himself used to wind the clock every Friday after Juma prayers at 2 p.m.’
    • ‘A man who is taken into servitude to wind the kingdom's clocks, concocts a scheme in which the clocks slowly but imperceptibly run down.’
    • ‘It turned easily, making clicking noises like an alarm clock being wound.’
    • ‘I took one last fortifying breath, then turned the Keystone as though I were winding a clock.’
    • ‘An automatic winding system will be installed as the clock presently has to be wound every three days by hand.’
    • ‘It may be an ancient pendulum clock, whose sinking weight, after it has been wound, will supply the energy.’
    • ‘Still, as I wound the clock, I felt that it was more than mere decoration.’
    • ‘They had preached about winding the clock before executing emergency procedures.’
    • ‘He told his granddaughter that she had to wind his grandfather clock every day without fail, but he wouldn't give her a reason.’
    • ‘On the one day when she forgot to wind the clock, or wasn't able to, and it stopped, her grandfather died.’
    • ‘We are introduced to him as he winds the clock in the great house, thus ensuring the smooth continuation of the linear, regular measure of historical time.’
    • ‘He had already wound the clock and set it for midnight, and he got the mousetrap set on the first try.’
    • ‘It was wound solemnly each Sunday morning, checked against the BBC time signal, adjusted, and the glass cover snapped gently back for another week.’
    • ‘Regularly, I was wound, polished and looked at but never moved except from one silk pocket to another.’
    • ‘When the weights reach the floor the clock has to be wound, hoisting the weights back up.’
    • ‘I was hurriedly winding our grandfather clock when, in my carelessness, the pendulum disconnected.’
    1. 3.1 Turn (a key or handle) repeatedly round and round.
      ‘I wound the handle as fast as I could’
      • ‘This photo shows the flip out handle, which once wound for thirty seconds, produces full room sound for thirty minutes.’
      • ‘You make a sandwich of the printing plate and the paper and some sort of pad on top of the paper, put it in the press and wind a handle to screw down the top plate of the press.’
      • ‘If you wind the key enough, he'll go.’
    2. 3.2with object and adverbial of direction Cause (an audio or video tape or a film) to move back or forwards to a desired point.
      ‘I forgot how to wind the film on’
      • ‘Get another and then close the shutter, which winds on the film to the next position.’
      • ‘The near the end there's a sound like a tape being wound back and we get the alternate version - same aquatic feel, but light and airy as well.’
      • ‘I may want to wind back the cassette to replay a section.’
    3. 3.3with object and adverbial of direction Hoist or draw (something) with a windlass, winch, or similar device.
      • ‘This is the compartment located in the fo'c's'le below and behind the anchor winch, into which the anchor chains are wound.’


  • 1A twist or turn in a course.

    • ‘After a few minutes of puzzled winds and twists and turns and curses muttered under my breath, I come upon the bed.’
  • 2A single turn made when winding.

Phrasal Verbs

  • wind down

    • 1(of a mechanism, especially one operated by clockwork) gradually lose power.

      • ‘It wasn't long before the machine started to wind down and stop.’
      • ‘The quality is fine for TV broadcast and animation motors give us more accuracy from one frame to the next, because the shutter speed alters slightly as the spring winds down in the clockwork motor.’
      • ‘The left engine normally wound down and wind-milled, while continuing to power the left side hydraulics.’
      • ‘Once that timer winds down to zero, the game ends.’
      • ‘Turbine generators here wind down, the emergency system to protect the nuclear reactors from overload kicks in, and the propeller shaft stops.’
      1. 1.1informal (of a person) relax after stress or excitement.
        ‘I sank into a hot bath in order to wind down’
        • ‘She has confessed she likes nothing more to wind down from her showbiz lifestyle by chilling out with her grandmother.’
        • ‘The couple, who now live in Bolton, will celebrate retirement with a holiday in Tenerife where they plan to wind down and relax.’
        • ‘Tired runners and walkers can relax and wind down at the celebration where they can enjoy music, entertainment and light refreshments.’
        • ‘Palm Beach is a place to relax, wind down and live elegantly, and if you want more, remember, Miami Beach is just a short gorgeous, scenic drive down the highway.’
        • ‘A bath helps you wind down, reduces the stress of the day and helps you sleep much more soundly.’
        • ‘Where I used to listen to shouty music and stomp around the flat, these days I'm more partial to something chilled which helps me wind down.’
        • ‘Complementary approaches include aromatherapy and reflexology and these may, if nothing else, provide a quiet, relaxed environment in which to wind down.’
        • ‘Try listening to relaxing music an hour before bedtime to help you wind down or even fall asleep.’
        • ‘The Education Minister said the students deserved a chance to wind down after such a stressful period.’
        • ‘So, now that I've taken a cool shower, I intend to relax and wind down.’
        relax, unwind, calm down, cool down, cool off, ease off, ease up, take it easy, rest, put one's feet up
        View synonyms
      2. 1.2Draw or bring gradually to a close.
        ‘business began to wind down as people awaited the new regime’
        • ‘Roy and a handful of others stayed for a further 15 months to wind the factories down for good.’
        • ‘If a buyer cannot be found, the company will be wound down and closed.’
        • ‘Despite the regular practice of winding operations down in the early part of the year, some of the costs of the business, such as its warehouse, were ongoing.’
        • ‘The evening ends with a downbeat number, an odd choice for an encore, but it winds things down nicely enough.’
        • ‘We still haven't a clue whether we are going to be sold, wound down or kicked out.’
        • ‘The weaker he became, the more urgently he focused on winding the business down.’
        • ‘The sympathetic nervous system pumps the body up, but when you take a deep breath the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in and starts to wind the system down.’
        • ‘Workers at the centre at the Cork Airport Business Park were told that the plant would be wound down over the next three months.’
        • ‘But so powerful did they prove themselves as wealth generators that investors in them soon abandoned any pretence of willfully winding them down.’
        • ‘For our Oxford project, we are running six-weeks of follow-up work which will wind the project down and then we'll start working on new material.’
        draw to a close, come to an end, tail off, taper off, diminish, lessen, dwindle, decline
        bring to a close, bring to a end, wind up, run down, close down, phase out
        View synonyms
  • wind up

    • 1Arrive or end up in a specified state, situation, or place.

      ‘she wound up in hospital with pneumonia’
      • ‘He wound up in the hospital, suffering from alcoholism and depression.’
      • ‘And, if you don't want to wind up in that situation, you need to pack heat and be prepared to resist at the point of abduction.’
      • ‘If you were in either, you were probably going to wind up dead.’
      • ‘Shaking his head in disbelief, he wondered how he'd come to wind up in this situation to begin with.’
      • ‘It will probably wind up being better than it has any right to be.’
      • ‘We all wind up in your situation sooner or later, and I agree - it's tough.’
      • ‘To the family's relief, he finally left home and the marriage, and wound up in a psychiatric hospital.’
      • ‘Bayer winds up finishing third, 27 minutes behind the winner.’
      • ‘When Jane's psychosis got especially scary, she wound up in a hospital casualty ward, where she was sent home with some sleeping pills.’
      • ‘The first-time visitor to Yorkshire could be forgiven for thinking he had wound up in a land of madmen.’
      end up, finish up, find oneself, land up, land oneself
      View synonyms
    • 2Baseball
      (of a pitcher) use the windup delivery.

      • ‘As the pitcher wound up to throw the third pitch, my stomach knotted up.’
      • ‘He wound up and threw another fastball, high again for ball two.’
      • ‘Pitchers don't just wind up and let go, they throw to spots, which makes batters far more likely victims.’
  • wind someone up

    • 1Tease or irritate someone.

      ‘she's only winding me up’
      • ‘Derek winds me up that I have a wee boy who is English because he was born in Carlisle but I get him back because his wee girl was born in Edinburgh.’
      • ‘The players were shouting at us and trying to wind us up about the result.’
      • ‘She was winding me up, teasing me, and I knew it but the pain was still too fresh and the anger wasn't far from the surface and it took everything I had to keep quiet.’
      • ‘She was trying to wind me up and I just snapped.’
      • ‘Asked if he believed teams would try to wind him up to provoke a response, he admitted: ‘Yes, probably, but I'm an experienced player now and I want to prove that.’’
      • ‘He teased me and wound me up, without mercy, all day, for my grumpiness.’
      • ‘They wound me up about the result, we had a few drinks and we shared some laughs.’
      • ‘I admit I respect his body of work but every now and then I'll send him an e-mail just to wind him up.’
      • ‘In itself this can be a little irritating if you're trying to wind someone up.’
      • ‘Then again, his fresh-faced good looks and confident agreeability might only wind them up more.’
      tease, make fun of, chaff
      annoy, anger, irritate, exasperate, get someone's back up, put someone's back up, nettle, pique, get on someone's nerves, ruffle someone's feathers
      View synonyms
    • 2Make tense or angry.

      ‘he was clearly wound up and frantic about his daughter’
      • ‘I suppose it's fitting that I rant about religion on Easter Sunday, but this wound me up, and then Steve tipped me over the edge.’
      • ‘But it winds me up because everything we have seen today does not have to be like that.’
      • ‘This happens every six months or so, and really winds me up.’
      • ‘There is nothing that will wind me up more than hearing my children cry, at this age in particular.’
      • ‘His lack of insight winds him up and leads him to write angry and bitter rants like this - it's pretty sad really.’
      • ‘In a nutshell, if someone comes up to you and winds you up, you don't have to become annoyed, and reply in kind.’
      • ‘I was feeling extremely tense and uncomfortable and the whole thing was winding me up more and more and more.’
      • ‘I don't eat because the noise other people make with the munching and the slurping and rattling bags winds me up, so I think it would be hypocritical if I ate, too.’
      • ‘The suggestion that he is some arty posh boy winds him up.’
      • ‘It really sticks in my craw, winds me up, annoys me that he has the views on homosexuality that he has.’
  • wind something up

    • 1Arrange the affairs of and dissolve a company.

      ‘the company has since been wound up’
      • ‘If the liquidator receives this amount at sale, then, based on the company's statement of affairs when it was wound up, the company could be left in a break-even situation.’
      • ‘The business has to be operational for 12 weeks after which the learners are asked to wind it up.’
      • ‘After the death of the estate owner and before the estate is wound up, the trust can provide a source of funds for the maintenance and other needs of dependants.’
      • ‘Eventually the partnership was wound up and a dispute arose as to what should happen to the property that the parties co-owned for their business purposes.’
      • ‘In those proceedings an order was made that both would be required to sign business cheques until the business was wound up, and the business financial arrangements either litigated to resolution or sorted out between the parties.’
      • ‘The authority itself is due to be wound up at the end of this month.’
      • ‘Having taken all steps, active or passive, required to terminate the activities of the club, short of passing a formal resolution to wind it up or dissolve it, the general meeting of the club resolved to sell the club's last asset.’
      • ‘Under the current rules, pensioners are ranked ahead of current workers when company schemes are wound up.’
      • ‘As a result, insolvent companies are not wound up but sit idle, usually heavily in debt, until they are struck off the register.’
      • ‘When the company was wound up the contract was cancelled.’
      close, close down, dissolve, liquidate, put into liquidation
      View synonyms
    • 2Gradually or finally bring an activity to a conclusion.

      ‘the experiments had to be wound up because the funding stopped’
      • ‘They wound up the regular season at home on Thanksgiving Day as they walloped the opposition.’
      • ‘The tone of the self-portrait with which he wound up his adolescence recalls something of Kepler's horoscope of himself.’
      • ‘Another chapter or two should wind this up, but I need a transitional chapter.’
      • ‘The Shakers wound up their pre-season schedule with a 1-0 defeat against a full strength Barnsley side in midweek.’
      • ‘His apparent indifference to the current state of affairs merely supports the view that it is time to wind it up.’
      bring to a close, bring to a end, wind up, run down, close down, phase out
      conclude, bring to an close, bring to an end, end, terminate, finish
      View synonyms
    • 3Increase the tension, intensity, or power of something.

      ‘he wound up the engine’
      • ‘Brakes off, cranks churning, I wind it up and let it go.’
      • ‘Luckily the road was fairly empty and I slammed up the gearbox winding the car up to an eyewatering 105 mph.’
      • ‘Like all their engines, though, this one loves to be run out to the limit, so, if you close your ears and wind it up to the 7,000 rpm ignition cut-out, it will perform much better.’
      • ‘The thing was so underpowered that you needed three miles to wind it up before you even think about passing!’
      • ‘On the highway it winds it up to about forty-five, at which point the engine and drive train are seemingly screaming the distorted symphonics of an ear-splitting concerto.’


Old English windan ‘go rapidly’, ‘twine’, of Germanic origin; related to wander and wend.