El Niño

noun El Ni·ño \el-ˈnē-nyō\

: a flow of unusually warm water along the western coast of South America that causes many changes in weather in other places (such as a lot of rain in areas that are usually dry)

plural El Niños

Full Definition of EL NIÑO

:  an irregularly recurring flow of unusually warm surface waters from the Pacific Ocean toward and along the western coast of South America that prevents upwelling of nutrient-rich cold deep water and that disrupts typical regional and global weather patterns — compare la niña

Origin of EL NIÑO

Spanish, literally, the child (i.e., the Christ child); from the appearance of the flow at the Christmas season
First Known Use: 1896


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