down·​burst ˈdau̇n-ˌbərst How to pronounce downburst (audio)
: a powerful downdraft usually associated with a thunderstorm that strikes the ground and deflects in all directions
also : microburst

Examples of downburst in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This cool, dense air sinks to the ground and creates a strong wind called a downburst. Ashley Stimpson, Popular Mechanics, 11 July 2023 The heat combined with a cold front and an upper-atmosphere disturbance to create downbursts — blasts of wind, originating in clouds, that slam into the ground and fan out, producing gusts more severe than low-end tornadoes. Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, 31 July 2023 Bow echoes form because the strong winds racing ahead of the storm front pulls it forward from the center, where those powerful downbursts are taking place. Ashley Stimpson, Popular Mechanics, 11 July 2023 Last night's storms produced severe downburst winds & damage across parts of North TX. Dallas News, 30 Aug. 2020 The highest chance of rain will be right along San Francisco Bay and the Delta, though a few brief downbursts could roll east of I-680 and into the San Ramon and Livermore valleys this evening. Gerry Díaz, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Mar. 2023 Rain showers will also hoist 30 to 35 mph gusts and sudden downbursts, so be alert for any flood water on roadways. Gerry Díaz, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Mar. 2023 Many people hear a sudden roaring sound as the wind rapidly accelerates to high speeds during a downburst. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, 12 July 2022 One of those storms produced a strong downburst, removing the roof of a building in Granbury, and knocking down some trees and power lines between Granbury and Tolar. Dallas News, 9 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'downburst.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1977, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of downburst was in 1977

Dictionary Entries Near downburst

Cite this Entry

“Downburst.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a powerful downdraft

More from Merriam-Webster on downburst

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