head·​wind | \ ˈhed-ˌwind How to pronounce headwind (audio) \
plural headwinds

Definition of headwind

1 : a wind having the opposite general direction to a course of movement (as of an aircraft)
2 : a force or influence that inhibits progress Power-plant construction is facing headwinds in the U.S. as renewable energy projects and slack demand throw the economics of new generators into question.— Thomas Black For generations, the tribe has been leaning into cultural headwinds to preserve a language on the brink of extinction.— Kevin Simpson The plan faces political headwinds from both sides of the aisle …— Heidi M. Przybyla

Examples of headwind in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With a Democratic president, the party could face a mid-term backlash representing a headwind for their party, similar to what Trump experienced in 2018. Cole Lauterbach, Washington Examiner, "Arizona GOP keeps Trump ally as chair," 25 Jan. 2021 One headwind is getting drivers to return to the road. Allysia Finley, WSJ, "Uber Adapts to Covid and ‘Laborism’," 2 Oct. 2020 Each new headwind would have been a valid reason on its own to abort our plans. Jim Olson, Fortune, "After 2020, we all need a gap year," 25 Dec. 2020 The uncertainty and market shocks that came from his freewheeling approach to making and announcing policies may have been a headwind for stocks, but his steep tax cuts almost certainly were a boon to markets. Matt Phillips, New York Times, "After Chaotic 4 Years, Wall St. Is Itching to Unfollow @realDonaldTrump," 24 Nov. 2020 The winds began to get very intense, roaring at us as a headwind from the south, probably blowing at least 100 miles an hour. National Geographic, "Episode 3: Chasing the World's Largest Tornado," 10 Nov. 2020 An expected winter surge in coronavirus cases will create a stronger headwind against converting more of them back to classroom instruction. Krista Torralva, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio school leaders concern: COVID-induced decline in enrollment will take funding down with it," 13 Nov. 2020 The other major headwind is that stimulus from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act has largely run dry. Fortune, "In final jobs report before the election, U.S. adds a disappointing 661,000 jobs amid signs the recovery is sputtering," 2 Oct. 2020 Once the rest of the world is back on its feet, concerns about over-dependence on China are likely to become a structural headwind for exports again. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "China’s Economy Is Almost Over Covid-19," 19 Oct. 2020

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

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First Known Use of headwind

1709, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of headwind was in 1709

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Last Updated

2 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Headwind.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/headwind. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of headwind

: a wind that is blowing toward something (such as a ship or an airplane) as it moves forward

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