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

Two tornadoes touched down in New Hampshire during Monday’s thunderstorm, barreling over several trees but causing no injuries, weather officials said. Elise Takahama,, "Two tornadoes touched down in N.H. during Monday’s thunderstorms," 20 June 2018 Two other tornadoes in the area did not cause any damage. Fox News, "Tornado damages property in Wyoming town; no injuries," 28 May 2018 At least 18 tornadoes touched down in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma, ABC News reported. Natalie Dreier, ajc, "Kansas, Oklahoma see first tornadoes of 2018," 2 May 2018 The National Weather Service confirmed 15 tornadoes touched down in north and central Alabama the night of March 19. Anna Beahm,, "Trump declares Alabama major disaster area after March tornadoes," 27 Apr. 2018 The National Weather Service said two tornadoes were tracked through Baldwin County on Sunday. Alex Johnson /, NBC News, "Tornadoes, strong winds injure four in southern Alabama," 23 Apr. 2018 Details coming up with @DanielWDSU on @wdsu at 5 & 6 p.m -- Juliana Mazza (@JulianaWDSU) April 7, 2018 Earlier this week, two tornadoes were confirmed to have touched down in St. Tammany Parish. Marie Simoneaux,, "Tornado damages homes in St. James Parish: National Weather Service," 7 Apr. 2018 Possible tornadoes were reported to have torn apart homes, shredded buildings and knocked down power lines and trees. Madison Park And Amir Vera, CNN, "'Significant damage' in Alabama after storms hit Southeast," 20 Mar. 2018 Over the weekend, a storm system that covered from Texas to Canada’s maritime provinces spawned thunderstorms, flooding and at least one tornado, according to the Associated Press. Stephanie Petit,, "Death Toll Rises to At Least 5 After Severe Storms Hit Multiple States," 25 Feb. 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

13 Oct 2018

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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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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