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 The National Weather Service in Dallas confirmed a tornado in Corsicana, likely of EF0 intensity on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, with winds of 65 to 85 mph. Kay Jones And Gene Norman, CNN, "Tornado touches down in Corsicana, Texas, as storm system moves into Gulf Coast," 30 Dec. 2020 Now Nashville business owners face difficult decisions over how and whether to rebuild following a year marked by a pandemic, a tornado, civil unrest and, to cap it all off, a terrorist-style attack, the motive for which may never be known. Washington Post, "Nashville business owners say Christmas blast has left their future in doubt," 30 Dec. 2020 If confirmed, an EF1 tornado packs maximum winds of up to 110 mph. NBC News, "Powerful storms, possible tornado, flatten north Texas buildings," 25 Nov. 2020 Oh, and there was that tornado, the Sunday before Labor Day in 2002. al, "Hit by Hurricane Sally, Pirates Cove is almost ready for the riff raff," 19 Nov. 2020 The National Weather Service said potential threats from the storm include damaging winds up to 60 mph, hail, lightning, heavy rainfall, and even an isolated tornado — a typical Michigan forecast. Slone Terranella, Detroit Free Press, "Metro Detroit forecast: Strong afternoon storm to send temperatures plunging," 23 Oct. 2020 According to Smith, don’t worry about being sucked into a tornado, which is rare. Graham Averill, Outside Online, "How to Survive 5 Extreme Weather Scenarios," 15 Oct. 2020 Officers needed to use additional overtime because of the Dallas tornado, pandemic and massive protests. Cassandra Jaramillo, Dallas News, "Dallas police seeing uptick in gun violence among people who know each other," 15 Sep. 2020 The National Weather Service is looking into reports that a tornado touched down in the Birmingham metro area overnight. Leigh Morgan, al, "Was there a tornado in Jefferson County last night?," 14 Dec. 2020

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.

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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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Statistics for tornado

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tornado.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for tornado


How to pronounce tornado (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tornado

: a violent and destructive storm in which powerful winds move around a central point


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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Comments on tornado

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