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[tahy-foon] /taɪˈfun/
a tropical cyclone or hurricane of the western Pacific area and the China seas.
a violent storm or tempest of India.
(initial capital letter) Military.
  1. a single-engine British ground attack aircraft of World War II.
  2. NATO's name for a class of nuclear-powered Soviet ballistic missile submarine carrying 20 multiwarhead missiles.
Origin of typhoon
1580-90; < dialectal Chinese, akin to Chinese dàfēng great wind, altered by association with Greek tȳphôn violent wind
Related forms
[tahy-fon-ik] /taɪˈfɒn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for typhoon


a violent tropical storm or cyclone, esp in the China seas and W Pacific
a violent storm of India
Derived Forms
typhonic (taɪˈfɒnɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Chinese tai fung great wind, from tai great + fung wind; influenced by Greek tuphōn whirlwind
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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Word Origin and History for typhoon

Tiphon "violent storm, whirlwind, tornado," 1550s, from Greek typhon "whirlwind," personified as a giant, father of the winds, perhaps from typhein "to smoke" (cf. typhus). The meaning "cyclone, violent hurricane of India or the China Seas" (1580s) is first recorded in T. Hickock's translation of an account in Italian of a voyage to the East Indies by Caesar Frederick, a merchant of Venice:

concerning which Touffon ye are to vnderstand, that in the East Indies often times, there are not stormes as in other countreys; but euery 10. or 12. yeeres there are such tempests and stormes, that it is a thing incredible, but to those that haue seene it, neither do they know certainly what yeere they wil come. ["The voyage and trauell of M. Caesar Fredericke, Marchant of Venice, into the East India, and beyond the Indies"]
This sense of the word, in reference to titanic storms in the East Indies, first appears in Europe in Portuguese in the mid-16th century. It aparently is from tufan, a word in Arabic, Persian, and Hindi meaning "big cyclonic storm." Yule ["Hobson-Jobson," London, 1903] writes that "the probability is that Vasco [da Gama] and his followers got the tufao ... direct from the Arab pilots." The Arabic word sometimes is said to be from Greek typhon, but other sources consider it purely Semitic, though the Greek word might have influenced the form of the word in English. Al-tufan occurs several times in the Koran for "a flood or storm" and also for Noah's Flood. Chinese (Cantonese) tai fung "a great wind" also might have influenced the form or sense of the word in English, and that term and the Indian one may have had some mutual influence; toofan still means "big storm" in India.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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typhoon in Science
A violent cyclonic storm occurring in the western Pacific Ocean. See Note at cyclone.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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typhoon in Culture

typhoon definition

In meteorology, a type of cyclone occurring in the western regions of the Pacific Ocean.

Note: A typhoon is similar to a hurricane in levels of destructiveness.
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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