[shi-nook, -nook, chi-]
noun, plural Chinooks (especially collectively) Chinook.
a member of a formerly numerous North American Indian people originally inhabiting the northern shore of the mouth of the Columbia River and the adjacent territory.
either of the two languages of the Chinook Indians. Compare Lower Chinook, Upper Chinook.
(lowercase) a warm, dry wind that blows at intervals down the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
(lowercase) chinook salmon.
a U.S. Army cargo helicopter in service since 1962 and capable of ferrying 12 tons of supplies and troops. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To chinook
World English Dictionary
chinook (tʃɪˈnuːk, -ˈnʊk)
1.  Also called: snow eater a warm dry southwesterly wind blowing down the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains
2.  Also called: wet chinook a warm moist wind blowing onto the Washington and Oregon coasts from the sea
[C19: from Salish c`inuk]

Chinook (tʃɪˈnuːk, -ˈnʊk)
n , -nook, -nooks
1.  a Native American people of the Pacific coast near the Columbia River
2.  the language of this people, probably forming a separate branch of the Penutian phylum

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

name for a group of related native people in the Columbia River region of Washington and Oregon, from Salishan /činuk/, name of a village site. Name also extended to a type of salmon (1851) and warm spring wind. Chinook jargon was a mish-mash of native, French, and English words once used as a lingua
franca in the Pacific Northwest, and it is the earliest attested use of the word (1840).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
chinook   (shĭ-nk', chĭ-)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A moist, warm wind blowing from the sea in coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest.

  2. A warm, dry wind descending from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, causing a rapid rise in temperature. These winds often melt snow quite rapidly, at times at a rate of up to a foot per hour. See also foehn.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


warm, dry wind descending the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, primarily in winter. Winds of the same kind occur in other parts of the world and are known generally as foehns (q.v.).

Learn more about chinook with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences for chinook
Another weather phenomenon, known as the chinook wind, happens in the autumn.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature