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a strong suffocating sand-laden wind of the deserts of Arabia and North Africa Also called samiel
Word Origin
from Arabic samūm poisonous, from sam poison, from Aramaic sammā poison
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for simoom

"hot, dry desert wind," 1790, from Arabic samum "a sultry wind," literally "poisonous," from samma "he poisoned," from sam "poison."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for simoom

extremely hot and dry local wind in Arabia and the Sahara. Its temperature often reaches 55 C (about 130 F), and the humidity of the air sometimes falls below 10 percent. It is caused by intensive ground heating under a cloudless sky. Simoom is an Arabic word that means "poison wind." It refers to the wind's tendency to cause heatstroke as it brings more heat to the human body than is removed by the evaporation of perspiration.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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