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

From the safe little room in the middle of my old house, the tornadoes sounded like creamy-smooth, deep-white noise underneath the constant mid-range hissing of the rain. Timothy Morton, The Atlantic, "The Hurricane in My Backyard," 8 July 2018 This is the tornado of scandals Zuckerberg will try to address before Congress today. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "Mark Zuckerberg Answers to Congress For Facebook's Troubles," 10 Apr. 2018 The National Weather Service reported extensive damage in the wake of an EF-1 category tornado that hit eastern Arkansas. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "16-story Residence Inn Medical Center tops out," 25 May 2018 Inside a tornado-proof vault, dozens of automatic firearms worth millions of dollars hang on the walls. Fortune, "How Buying and Selling Machine Guns in America Made This Man Rich — Yes, Actual Machine Guns," 5 Apr. 2018 For Frishman, the pictures returned from Juno’s mission over Jupiter—showing a fantasyland of jets and tornadoes swirling like cream poured into the solar system’s largest coffee—are a driving influence. Joshua Sokol, WIRED, "Flattened Fluids Help Scientists Understand Oceans and Atmospheres," 7 July 2018 Both tornadoes touched down in rural areas of Lafayette County, about 40 miles southwest of Madison. Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Weather service confirms two tornadoes touched down in western Wisconsin on Tuesday," 27 June 2018 The maps look at the four major threats — winds, flooding from storm surge or rainfall, and tornadoes — and allow users to zoom in and out, with frightening specificity. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Hurricane forecasts for your block. There's a website for that now," 22 June 2018 Cut-throat competition, batches that fail after years in the warehouse and even tornadoes of fire are hazards of the job. Sarah Riley And Zahria Rogers, The Courier-Journal, "From 'bourbonado' to big spills: Kentucky's historic bourbon disasters," 22 June 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

1 Sep 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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Comments on tornado

What made you want to look up tornado? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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