Definition of zephyr
1a : a breeze from the westb : a gentle breeze
2 : any of various lightweight fabrics and articles of clothing
zephyr was our Word of the Day on 03/20/2015. Hear the podcast!
Examples of zephyr in a sentence
a summer zephyr gently stirred her hair
Did You Know?
For centuries, poets have eulogized Zephyrus, the Greek god of the west wind, and his "swete breeth" (in the words of Geoffrey Chaucer). Zephyrus, the personified west wind, eventually evolved into zephyr, a word for a breeze that is westerly or gentle, or both. Breezy zephyr may have blown into English with the help of William Shakespeare, who used the word in his 1611 play Cymbeline: "Thou divine Nature, thou thyself thou blazon'st / In these two princely boys! They are as gentle / As zephyrs blowing below the violet." Today, zephyr is also the sobriquet of a lightweight fabric and the clothing that is made from it.
Origin and Etymology of zephyr
Middle English Zephirus, west wind (personified), from Latin Zephyrus, god of the west wind & zephyrus west wind, zephyr, from Greek Zephyros & zephyros
First Known Use: 1611
ZEPHYR Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of zephyr for English Language Learners
: a very slight or gentle wind
ZEPHYR Defined for Kids
Definition of zephyr for Students
: a gentle breeze
Seen and Heard
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