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[hur-i-keyn, huhr- or, esp. British, -kuh n] /ˈhɜr ɪˌkeɪn, ˈhʌr- or, esp. British, -kən/
a violent, tropical, cyclonic storm of the western North Atlantic, having wind speeds of or in excess of 72 miles per hour (32 m/sec).
a storm of the most intense severity.
anything suggesting a violent storm.
(initial capital letter) Military. a single-seat British fighter plane of World War II, fitted with eight .303 caliber machine guns and with a top speed in excess of 300 miles per hour (480 km/h).
1545-55; < Spanish huracán < Taino hurakán
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hurricanes
  • Add in methods for controlling hurricanes, tornadoes, and other destructive natural phenomena.
  • If you've lost your package because of the hurricanes, there may not be much that you can do.
  • The walls here are made of cinder blocks-good in hurricanes.
  • Prefab construction tends to conjure up visions of mobile homes being torn apart by hurricanes.
  • They are much stronger than traditional housing and will better withstand earthquakes and hurricanes.
  • From aircraft-grounding hurricanes to ion storms that hamper radar, weather can have a decisive impact on military operations.
  • Last summer, two studies linked this temperature rise to stronger and more frequent hurricanes.
  • What differentiates cyclones from hurricanes and typhoons is where they arise.
  • Typhoons usually pack stronger winds than hurricanes.
  • Our system will also be used to create cold water barriers to hurricanes.
British Dictionary definitions for hurricanes


/ˈhʌrɪkən; -keɪn/
a severe, often destructive storm, esp a tropical cyclone
  1. a wind of force 12 or above on the Beaufort scale
  2. (as modifier): a wind of hurricane force
anything acting like such a wind
Word Origin
C16: from Spanish huracán, from Taino hurakán, from hura wind
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hurricanes



1550s, a partially deformed adoptation from Spanish huracan (Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdés, "Historia General y Natural de las Indias," 1547-9), furacan (in the works of Pedro Mártir De Anghiera, chaplain to the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and historian of Spanish explorations), from an Arawakan (W. Indies) word. In Portuguese, it became furacão. For confusion of initial -f- and -h- in Spanish, see hacienda. The word is first in English in Richard Eden's "Decades of the New World":

These tempestes of the ayer (which the Grecians caule Tiphones ...) they caule furacanes.
OED records 39 different spellings, mostly from the late 16c., including forcane, herrycano, harrycain, hurlecane. Modern form became frequent from 1650, established after 1688. Shakespeare uses hurricano ("King Lear," "Troilus and Cressida"), but in reference to waterspouts.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hurricanes in Science

A severe, rotating tropical storm with heavy rains and cyclonic winds exceeding 74 mi (119 km) per hour, especially such a storm occurring in the Northern Hemisphere. Hurricanes originate in the tropical parts of the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean Sea and move generally northward. They lose force when they move over land or colder ocean waters. See Note at cyclone.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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hurricanes in Culture

hurricane definition

A large tropical storm system with high-powered circular winds. (See cyclone and eye of a hurricane.)

Note: Between July and October, hurricanes cause extensive damage along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. (See Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.)
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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