Word Origin & History
the modern word represents a coincidence and convergence of at least two unrelated words of similar sound and sense. Tiphon "violent storm, whirlwind, tornado" is recorded from 1555, from Gk. typhon "whirlwind," personified as a giant, father of the winds, perhaps from typhein "to smoke." The meaning
"cyclone, violent hurricane of India or the China Seas" (1588) is first recorded in T. Hickock's translation of an account in Italian of a voyage to the East Indies by Cæsar Frederick, a merchant of Venice, probably borrowed from, or infl. by, Chinese (Cantonese) tai fung "a great wind," from tu "big" + feng "wind;" name given to violent cyclonic storms in the China seas. A third possibility is tufan, a word in Arabic, Persian and Hindi meaning "big cyclonic storm" (and the source of Port. tufao), which may be from Gk. typhon but commonly is said to be a noun of action from Arabic tafa "to turn round."