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[hahr-muh-tan] /ˌhɑr məˈtæn/
(on the west coast of Africa) a dry, parching land breeze, charged with dust.
1665-75; said to be < Twi haramata Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for harmattan
  • And it was not too hot either, because the cold and dry harmattan wind was blowing down from the north.
British Dictionary definitions for harmattan


a dry dusty wind from the Sahara blowing towards the W African coast, esp from November to March
Word Origin
C17: from Twi haramata, perhaps from Arabic harām forbidden thing; see harem
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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Encyclopedia Article for harmattan

hot, dry wind that blows from the northeast or east in the western Sahara and is strongest in late fall and winter (late November to mid-March). It usually carries large amounts of dust, which it transports hundreds of kilometres out over the Atlantic Ocean; the dust often interferes with aircraft operations and settles on the decks of ships.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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