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[mon-soon] /mɒnˈsun/
the seasonal wind of the Indian Ocean and southern Asia, blowing from the southwest in summer and from the northeast in winter.
(in India and nearby lands) the season during which the southwest monsoon blows, commonly marked by heavy rains; rainy season.
any wind that changes directions with the seasons.
any persistent wind established between water and adjoining land.
1575-85; < Dutch monssoen (now obsolete) < Portuguese monção, earlier moução < Arabic mawsim season
Related forms
monsoonal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for monsoons
  • Good monsoons and raising interest rates is only part of the story.
  • The site may have been built to commemorate the arrival of the summer monsoons.
  • Between an insane travel schedule and the summer monsoons here, it has been difficult to get much observing in recently.
  • During this time, the climate also reversed dramatically, with intense monsoons following the two droughts.
  • Other monsoons may have killed or displaced more people, but the destruction was spread out over a larger territory.
  • And by the middle of this month, seasonal monsoons are expected to further inundate the region.
  • Annual rainfall is condensed into a few months of monsoons in late summer.
  • Heavy rain also can decrease driving visibility, especially during summer monsoons.
  • As the temperature dropped further, the steam condensed into rain that tell in primordial monsoons and filled the ocean basins.
  • monsoons and tropical storms do affect the surrounding area.
British Dictionary definitions for monsoons


a seasonal wind of S Asia that blows from the southwest in summer, bringing heavy rains, and from the northeast in winter
the rainy season when the SW monsoon blows, from about April to October
any wind that changes direction with the seasons
Derived Forms
monsoonal, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from obsolete Dutch monssoen, from Portuguese monção, from Arabic mawsim season
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 monsoons



1580s, "trade wind of the Indian Ocean," from Dutch monssoen, from Portuguese monçao, from Arabic mawsim "time of year, appropriate season" (for a voyage, pilgrimage, etc.), from wasama "he marked." When it blows from the southwest (April through October) it brings heavy rain, hence "heavy episode of rainfall during the rainy season" (1747).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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monsoons in Science
  1. A system of winds that influences the climate of a large area and that reverses direction with the seasons. Monsoons are caused primarily by the much greater annual variation in temperature over large areas of land than over large areas of adjacent ocean water. This variation causes an excess of atmospheric pressure over the continents in the winter, and a deficit in the summer. The disparity causes strong winds to blow between the ocean and the land, bringing heavy seasonal rainfall.

  2. In southern Asia, a wind that is part of such a system and that blows from the southwest in the summer and usually brings heavy rains.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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monsoons in Culture

monsoon definition

A wind system that affects large climatic regions and reverses direction seasonally.

Note: The Asiatic monsoon brings heavy rains to Southeast Asia in spring and summer.
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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