zeph·​yr | \ ˈze-fər How to pronounce zephyr (audio) \

Definition of zephyr

1a : a breeze from the west
b : a gentle breeze
2 : any of various lightweight fabrics and articles of clothing

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Synonyms for zephyr


air, breath, breeze, puff, waft

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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.

Examples of zephyr in a Sentence

a summer zephyr gently stirred her hair

Recent Examples on the Web

Not some Paris-in-the-springtime zephyr, but something better suited to wintertime and the coast of Brittany. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, "Rafael Nadal (Again) and the Wind Confound Roger Federer at the French Open," 7 June 2019 The movements were more scene setting than story telling, with wafting, zephyr-like patterns from piano, the themes eliding wind to string voices in a delicate and tricky texture. By Libby Hanssen, kansascity, "Summerfest impresses with brilliant colors, subtle hues of the 20th century.," 16 July 2017 Windsurfers lean into the prevailing southwestern zephyr at incredible speeds. Dino Vournas, The Mercury News, "Summer at Tahoe: Ski slopes and water sports all in one day," 21 May 2017 What lingers from this alien encounter is neither the wizardry nor the climax but the zephyr of emotional intensity that blows through the film. Adam Davidson, The New Yorker, "The 2017 Oscar Nominees in The New Yorker," 24 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'zephyr.' 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 zephyr

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for zephyr

Middle English Zephirus, west wind (personified), from Latin Zephyrus, god of the west wind & zephyrus west wind, zephyr, from Greek Zephyros & zephyros

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Dictionary Entries near zephyr







zephyr lily

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Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for zephyr

The first known use of zephyr was in 1567

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English Language Learners Definition of zephyr

literary : a very slight or gentle wind


zeph·​yr | \ ˈze-fər How to pronounce zephyr (audio) \

Kids Definition of zephyr

: a gentle breeze

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More from Merriam-Webster on zephyr

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with zephyr

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zephyr

Spanish Central: Translation of zephyr

Nglish: Translation of zephyr for Spanish Speakers

Comments on zephyr

What made you want to look up zephyr? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


recurring in steady succession

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