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

monsoonal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
monsoon (mɒnˈsuːn)
1.  a seasonal wind of S Asia that blows from the southwest in summer, bringing heavy rains, and from the northeast in winter
2.  the rainy season when the SW monsoon blows, from about April to October
3.  any wind that changes direction with the seasons
[C16: from obsolete Dutch monssoen, from Portuguese monção, from Arabic mawsim season]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"trade wind of the Indian Ocean," 1584, from Du. monssoen, from Port. monçao, from Ar. mawsim "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 "the rainy season" (1747).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
monsoon   (mŏn-sn')  Pronunciation Key 
  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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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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Example sentences
It grows enough food to feed itself even when the monsoon disappoints.
The drained ponds fill back up when the monsoon rains arrive.
With each new incident of record monsoon floods, fires and earthquakes, more
  tremors shake the global economy.
And sunlight is weak during the three-month monsoon season.
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