tor·​na·​do | \tȯr-ˈnā-(ˌ)dō \
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

There were tornado warnings here and flooding in the streets back in New Orleans, where Garrett and about 10,000 other geographers had gathered for their profession’s mega-event, the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers. Nate Berg, Curbed, "Can engineering save Louisiana’s coastline?," 7 Nov. 2018 The system is the same one that’s used to warn the public about dangerous weather or missing children, such as tornado warnings and Amber Alerts. Emily Stewart, Vox, "The new emergency alert system that lets Trump text you, explained," 3 Oct. 2018 The weather service issued more than a dozen tornado warnings across several Virginia counties on Monday. Denise Lavoie, Fox News, "Virginia man killed in flash flood from Florence remnants," 18 Sep. 2018 On the third day there were five tornado warnings within an hour. Timothy Morton, The Atlantic, "The Hurricane in My Backyard," 8 July 2018 The rotating thunderstorm prompted a tornado warning from the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, "This spectacular supercell storm near Pittsburgh spawned a tornado Wednesday evening," 28 June 2018 After the race, tornado warnings sent those at the speedway scurrying for cover. Zach Horrall, Indianapolis Star, "The Indy 500 on ABC: The top moments in the network’s 54-year run," 26 May 2018 Few European meteorological services even issue tornado warnings. Nick Lunn, National Geographic, "What Happens If You Drive Into a Tornado? Take a Look.," 22 May 2018 Several tornado warnings were also issued after forecasters spotted rotation in the clouds. Martin Finucane,, "Tornado watch issued for most of Massachusetts," 15 May 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near tornado





Tornado Alley

tornado lantern


Statistics for tornado

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tornado

The first known use of tornado was in 1556

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More Definitions for tornado



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 \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on tornado

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tornado

Spanish Central: Translation of tornado

Nglish: Translation of tornado for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tornado for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about tornado

Comments on tornado

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