11 Trending Words of 2014
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.
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.