tor·​na·​do | \ tȯr-ˈnā-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce tornado (audio) \
plural tornadoes or tornados

Definition of tornado

1a : a violent destructive whirling wind accompanied by a funnel-shaped cloud that progresses in a narrow path over the land
b : a squall accompanying a thunderstorm in Africa
2 : a violent windstorm : whirlwind
3 archaic : a tropical thunderstorm

Examples of tornado in a Sentence

in the path of a tornado
Recent Examples on the Web But there appears to have been dramatic damage associated with the tornado. Jacob Feuerstein, Washington Post, 5 Aug. 2022 The video shows the tornado swirling over water and heading towards Smith Island off the Chesapeake Bay. Fox News, 5 Aug. 2022 Naperville’s outdoor warning sirens failed to automatically activate last month when an EF-0 tornado rolled through the city because the software managing the system wasn’t set up properly, a city emergency official said. Suzanne Baker, Chicago Tribune, 4 Aug. 2022 Jeff Taylor with the Springdale Police Department said the tornado left seven injured, one critical. Arkansas Online, 24 July 2022 The tornado stayed on the ground for about three minutes, traveling nearly two miles through the city. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 24 July 2022 In west-central Alabama, two tornado reports were made south of Tuscaloosa, where storms damaged at least 37 homes in the towns of Moundville and Akron in Hale County, according to county emergency manager Russ Weeden. Jason Hanna, CNN, 21 July 2022 Springdale doesn't have a tornado siren, but a digital warning system called Springdale Alert. Arkansas Online, 24 July 2022 In Florida, where the majority of US shark attacks happen, people were nearly 21 times more likely to die in a tornado (125 deaths) than a shark bite (six deaths) between 1985 and 2010. Nouran Salahieh, CNN, 23 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of tornado

1556, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for tornado

modification of Spanish tronada thunderstorm, from tronar to thunder, from Latin tonare — more at thunder entry 1

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Time Traveler for tornado

Time Traveler

The first known use of tornado was in 1556

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Dictionary Entries Near tornado



Tornado Alley

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Statistics for tornado

Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tornado.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for tornado


tor·​na·​do | \ tȯr-ˈnā-dō How to pronounce tornado (audio) \
plural tornadoes or tornados

Kids Definition of tornado

: a violent whirling wind accompanied by a cloud that is shaped like a funnel and moves overland in a narrow path


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