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 Meteorologists on Tuesday confirmed a storm that hit Battle Ground the previous night produced an EF0 tornado. oregonlive, 29 Sep. 2021 Knowing that Bear, Elora, and Cheese are set to hit the road, the Rez Dogs finally decide to have it out with Jackie and her crew when everything is interrupted by an approaching tornado. Kali Simmons, Vulture, 20 Sep. 2021 The tornado was an EF-0 with a maximum estimated wind speed of 75 mph., 10 Sep. 2021 The weather service said the tornado was about 75 yards wide. Phil Davis,, 2 Sep. 2021 Ida’s winds, equivalent to an EF3 tornado, peeled the roofs off large steel buildings in the harbor and toppled metal light poles. Michael Biesecker And Gerald Herbert, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Sep. 2021 Ida's winds, equivalent to an EF3 tornado, peeled the roofs off large steel buildings in the harbor and toppled metal light poles. CBS News, 1 Sep. 2021 The Weather Service said that the tornado is unconfirmed but is surveying the area Thursday. Washington Post, 1 Sep. 2021 Roker planted his feet firmly in the swirling waters of Lake Pontchartrain and endured punishing waves and buffeting winds to report on the mile-wide storm that's packing the force of an F3 tornado. Sara Netzley,, 30 Aug. 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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Dictionary Entries Near tornado



Tornado Alley

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Statistics for tornado

Last Updated

7 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tornado.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Oct. 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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