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 National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado briefly touched down in Connecticut as powerful thunderstorms swept across New England Wednesday. Cynthia Fernandez,, "Amid powerful storms, tornado touched down in Connecticut," 5 Sep. 2019 Damage is being assessed after a tornado touched down in Emerald Isle. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, "Hurricane Dorian spawns damaging waterspout tornado in North Carolina beach town," 5 Sep. 2019 Weather service experts were going to survey the area to confirm whether a tornado touched down. Washington Post, "Suspected tornado in Mississippi from Barry’s wet remnants," 16 July 2019 Storm team survey confirmed a tornado touched down in north Portland at 524 PM, with a track length of about 1 mile., "Tornado touched down in Portland’s Alameda neighborhood, National Weather Service says," 1 July 2019 The National Weather Service is sending an assessment team to South Bend, Indiana, after a tornado touched down in the area and destroyed at least one building. Hollie Silverman, CNN, "Severe weather brought flooding and a tornado to the Midwest. It also killed one person," 24 June 2019 The initial announcement came about five days after a tornado touched down May 30 in the Glenelg area of Howard County, according to the National Weather Service. Staff Reports,, "Work to clear trees on Patuxent Branch Trail in Howard County to begin June 24," 18 June 2019 The weather service has not confirmed a tornado touched down so far. Leigh Morgan,, "‘Conditional’ threat for isolated tornadoes overnight in central Alabama," 6 June 2019 The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down in Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday. Katherine Nails,, "Tornado confirmed in Wilkes-Barre storm, National Weather Service says," 14 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

15 Sep 2019

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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 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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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 spread over or through

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