tor·​na·​do tȯr-ˈnā-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce tornado (audio)
plural tornadoes or tornados
: a violent destructive whirling wind accompanied by a funnel-shaped cloud that progresses in a narrow path over the land
: a squall accompanying a thunderstorm in Africa
: a violent windstorm : whirlwind
archaic : a tropical thunderstorm

Examples of tornado in a Sentence

in the path of a tornado
Recent Examples on the Web Damaging thunderstorms rolled across Wisconsin on Thursday night and produced the state’s first February tornado. Mary Gilbert, CNN, 11 Feb. 2024 With a tornado feature, LED light show and bass-boosting sound system, this Bluetooth Speaker is the perfect gift for your teen. Mia Meltzer, Rolling Stone, 6 Feb. 2024 But the scale has long been questioned as a tool that doesn’t truly capture the varying risks that come with a hurricane, including storm surge, tornadoes and rainfall. Max Chesnes, Miami Herald, 6 Feb. 2024 Now a tornado warning in S.D.? Feb. 6, 2024 Culver City issued an evacuation warning to residents in the Upper Crest neighborhood Monday evening. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 6 Feb. 2024 The main building’s concrete walls and complex design were inspired by legendary Kansas tornadoes. Jennifer Mazi, Kansas City Star, 30 Jan. 2024 Fierce winds and tornadoes could strike the South: More than 50 million people in the South are under a severe storm threat Friday. Wire Service, The Mercury News, 12 Jan. 2024 Over the weekend, much of America was hit with severe weather as heavy rain, gusty winds and frequent lightning threatened southwestern states while Alabama, Georgia and the Florida panhandle were at risk of isolated tornados. Daniel Amarante, ABC News, 28 Jan. 2024 Most parents who’ve seen the movie before know that the plot includes a disastrous tornado and an enchanted forest full of red-eyed creatures and talking trees. Common Sense Media, Washington Post, 26 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tornado.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


modification of Spanish tronada thunderstorm, from tronar to thunder, from Latin tonare — more at thunder entry 1

First Known Use

1556, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of tornado was in 1556

Dictionary Entries Near tornado

Cite this Entry

“Tornado.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


tor·​na·​do tȯr-ˈnād-ō How to pronounce tornado (audio)
plural tornadoes or tornados
: a violent destructive whirling wind accompanied by a funnel-shaped cloud that moves in a narrow path over the land
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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