de·​re·​cho | \ də-ˈrā-(ˌ)chō How to pronounce derecho (audio) \
plural derechos

Definition of derecho

: a large fast-moving complex of thunderstorms with powerful straight-line winds that cause widespread destruction

Examples of derecho in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In 1987, meteorologists defined what qualified as a derecho. Russ Schumacher, The Conversation, "What is a derecho? An atmospheric scientist explains these rare but dangerous storm systems," 15 June 2020 Used in a sentence: A line of severe thunderstorms slamming the south-central U.S. could be classified as a derecho. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "Are we close to a coronavirus treatment?," 29 Apr. 2020 The severe line of thunderstorms may have met the criteria for a derecho. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Storms bring hurricane-force winds across 500 miles in south-central US. More severe weather is on the way.," 30 Apr. 2020 There is also a PDS version of a severe thunderstorm watch, which is issued when there is a threat of a derecho with widespread wind damage. Leigh Morgan, al, "What is a PDS tornado watch?," 12 Apr. 2020 The next day, another derecho spread wind damage along 860 miles from western South Dakota across central and northeastern Wisconsin to northern lower Michigan. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The year in weather: Polar vortices, tornadoes, derechos, a white Halloween and green Christmas," 1 Jan. 2020 But future generations may well hear about the 2019 derecho, the powerful storm that swept across northern Wisconsin at dusk one summer night, jack-hammering forests with massive downdrafts known as macrobursts. Larry Parnass, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "It could take 10 years for Wisconsin to recover from the violent July wind storm that wrecked northern forests," 23 Oct. 2019 In many locations, wind gusts were derecho-intensity (65-plus mph) including a 71 mph gust recorded at 11:36 a.m. at Dulles. Jeff Halverson, Washington Post, "A mighty wind: Behind one of Washington’s worst-ever winter wind storms," 5 Mar. 2018 The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted many of the areas hit by Friday's derecho are facing the likelihood more severe weather on Saturday. Jordan Evans And Brandon Miller, CNN, "Line of storms leaves 1,000 mile path of destruction, impacting four US major cities," 22 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'derecho.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of derecho

1889, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for derecho

Spanish, straight (contrasted with tornado, taken to mean "turned"), from Latin directus — more at direct entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about derecho

Time Traveler for derecho

Time Traveler

The first known use of derecho was in 1889

See more words from the same year

Statistics for derecho

Last Updated

29 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Derecho.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on derecho

Spanish Central: Translation of derecho

Comments on derecho

What made you want to look up derecho? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!