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 Dallas Morning News reported that storms could be capable of producing large hail, damaging winds, flooding and tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service. Greg Riddle, Dallas News, "Basketball games throughout D-FW being rescheduled because of inclement weather," 10 Jan. 2020 Severe thunderstorms with damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes are forecast across parts of the South. Tim Darnell, ajc, "Heavy rains, major storms moving into South this weekend," 9 Jan. 2020 The bad news for 2019 is that more than one-third of the country was hit by a hurricane, flood, storm, wildfire or tornado severe enough to necessitate federal help. Thomas Frank, Scientific American, "Fires and Flood Cap Off a Decade of U.S. Disasters," 30 Dec. 2019 Tragedy struck across the country with shootings, fires and tornadoes. USA Today, "Warming temperatures, growing cities, TIME people of the year: 10 lists that define the 2010s," 25 Dec. 2019 Similar to a tornado or thunderstorm warning, a snow squall warning is issued to alert residents that a snow squall is possible in their area. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "Everything you need to know about snow squalls," 19 Dec. 2019 Southern Arkansas is mainly at risk, Shelton said, and may see damaging winds and a possible tornado or two. Nyssa Kruse, Arkansas Online, "Rainy Thanksgiving weather ahead for Arkansas; wintry mix possible for northwestern areas," 27 Nov. 2019 Across the nation, students, faculty and staff participate in drills to prepare for earthquakes and tornadoes without hesitation or second thoughts. Jaclyn Schildkraut, The Conversation, "Do lockdown drills do any good?," 22 Nov. 2019 From floods and tornadoes to droughts and insect invasions, urban areas face a range of threats as the planet continues to warm, a recent report shows. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, "As climate changes, more U.S. cities must brace for high heat, bitter cold and worse," 24 Oct. 2019

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

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tornado.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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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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