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 teams later this afternoon also confirmed an EF-1 tornado touched down in Prattville in Autauga County. Leigh Morgan, al, "At least two tornadoes confirmed from Tuesday’s storms in Alabama - and one from Sunday, too," 5 May 2021 In Waxahachie, 30 miles south of Dallas, witnesses say another tornado cut across a busy interstate, sideswiping several big rigs and forcing drivers to scramble to help people pinned by the wreckage. Omar Villafranca, CBS News, "Severe weather threatens nearly 40 million across the South," 4 May 2021 After a rough night of storms across North Texas (including two tornado touchdowns in Hill and Ellis counties) much quieter weather is in store today. Dallas News, "Cooler, breezy day ahead," 4 May 2021 Earlier in the day, the same warm front triggered another tornado in Virginia’s Northern Neck. Washington Post, "Tornadic storm tears through West Virginia and parts of northern Maryland: How it happened," 4 May 2021 In South Carolina, at least one tornado was reported Monday afternoon in Abbeville County. NBC News, "Death toll up to three as severe weather batters the South," 4 May 2021 In South Carolina, at least one tornado was reported Monday afternoon in Abbeville County. Rogelio V. Solis, USA TODAY, "Hail, wind and tornadoes: South at risk of severe weather again after tornadoes cause heavy damage, 2 deaths," 4 May 2021 Yazoo City also reported a tornado touched down earlier on Sunday, around 120 miles southwest of Calhoun City. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, "Tornadoes tear through Mississippi leaving damage in at least three cities," 3 May 2021 April also had the fourth fewest tornado watches on record. Daniel Manzo, ABC News, "More severe weather threats likely in May after unusually quiet April for tornadoes," 3 May 2021

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 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tornado.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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 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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