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cyclone

[ sahy-klohn ]
/ 藞sa瑟 klo蕣n /
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See synonyms for: cyclone / cyclones on Thesaurus.com

noun
Meteorology. a large-scale, atmospheric wind-and-pressure system characterized by low pressure at its center and by circular wind motion, counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.Compare anticyclone, extratropical cyclone, subtropical cyclone, tropical cyclone.
(not in technical use) tornado (def. 1).
Also called cy路clone col路lec路tor [sahy-klohn kuh-lek-ter], /藞sa瑟 klo蕣n k蓹藢l蓻k t蓹r/, cy路clone sep路a路ra路tor [sahy-klohn sep-uh-rey-ter]. /藞sa瑟 klo蕣n 藢s蓻p 蓹藢re瑟 t蓹r/. Machinery. a device for removing small or powdered solids from air, water, or other gases or liquids by centrifugal force.

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SHALL WE PLAY A "SHALL" VS. "SHOULD" CHALLENGE?
Should you take this quiz on 鈥渟hall鈥 versus 鈥渟hould鈥? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of cyclone

Introduced by British meteorologist Henry Piddington (1797鈥1858) in 1848, perhaps from Greek kykl么n 鈥渞evolving鈥 (present participle of kyklo没n 鈥渢o revolve,鈥 verbal derivative of k媒klos 鈥渨heel, ring, circle鈥; see cycle); apparently confused by Piddington with k媒kl艒ma 鈥渨heel, snake's coil鈥

OTHER WORDS FROM cyclone

min路i路cy路clone, nounpre路cy路clone, noun

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH cyclone

cyclone , hurricane, tidal wave, tornado, tsunami, typhoon
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2022

CYCLONE VS. HURRICANE VS. TYPHOON

What鈥檚 the difference between a cyclone, a hurricane, and a typhoon?

Cyclone, hurricane, and typhoon are all terms for big storms.

Although the word cyclone is often used to refer to a big storm, it is, technically speaking, a large-scale, atmospheric wind-and-pressure system characterized by low pressure at its center and by circular wind motion. Because these generally produce clouds and precipitation, cyclones are often simply referred to as storms. When such storms form around the tropics, they are called tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones are classified based on their strength. They may start as tropical depressions and progress to tropical storms. The most severe tropical cyclones鈥攖hose with winds of 74 mph (119 k/mh) or more鈥攁re called hurricanes or typhoons. Which term is used depends on where the storm occurs.

Generally, storms that form over the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico are called hurricanes, while those that form over the Pacific Ocean are called typhoons. (The word hurricane is sometimes used for storms that form over the eastern or central North Pacific Ocean.)

Cyclones rotate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.

cyclone vs. tornado

In casual use, the word cyclone is sometimes used to refer to a tornado (but it is not used this way in scientific contexts).

Here鈥檚 an example of cyclone, hurricane, and typhoon used correctly in a sentence.

Example: There have been many devastating cyclones this season, including a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico and multiple typhoons in the Pacific.

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons.

Quiz yourself on cyclone vs. hurricane vs. typhoon!

Should cyclone, hurricane, or typhoon be used in the following sentence?

Meteorologists are tracking a _____ that has formed in the Atlantic Ocean with winds exceeding 100 mph.

How to use cyclone in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cyclone (1 of 2)

cyclone
/ (藞sa瑟kl蓹蕣n) /

noun
another name for depression (def. 6)
a violent tropical storm; hurricane

Derived forms of cyclone

cyclonic (sa瑟藞kl蓲n瑟k), cyclonical or cyclonal, adjectivecyclonically, adverb

Word Origin for cyclone

C19: from Greek kukl艒n a turning around, from kukloein to revolve, from kuklos wheel

British Dictionary definitions for cyclone (2 of 2)

Cyclone
/ (藞sa瑟kl蓹蕣n) /

adjective
trademark Australian and NZ (of fencing) made of interlaced wire and metal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for cyclone

cyclone
[ s墨kl艒n鈥 ]

A large-scale system of winds that spiral in toward a region of low atmospheric pressure. A cyclone's rotational direction is opposite to that of an anticyclone. In the Northern hemisphere, a cyclone rotates counterclockwise; in the Southern hemisphere, clockwise. Because low-pressure systems generally produce clouds and precipitation, cyclones are often simply referred to as storms.鈾 An extratropical cyclone is one that forms outside the tropics at middle or high latitudes. Extratropical cyclones usually have an organized front and migrate eastward with the prevailing westerly winds of those latitudes.鈾 A tropical cyclone forms over warm tropical waters and is generally smaller than an extratropical cyclone. Such a system is characterized by a warm, well-defined core and can range in intensity from a tropical depression to a hurricane. Compare anticyclone.
A small-scale, violently rotating windstorm, such as a tornado or waterspout. Not in scientific use.

A Closer Look

Technically, a cyclone is nothing more than a region of low pressure around which air flows in an inward spiral. In the Northern Hemisphere the air moves counterclockwise around the low-pressure center, and in the Southern Hemisphere the air travels clockwise. Meteorologists also refer to tropical cyclones, which are cyclonic low-pressure systems that develop over warm water. For a tropical cyclone to originate, a large area of ocean must have a surface temperature greater than 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Tropical cyclones are categorized based on the strength of their sustained surface winds. They may begin as a tropical depression, with winds less than 39 miles (63 kilometers) per hour. Tropical storms are identified and tracked once the winds exceed this speed. Severe tropical cyclones, with winds of 74 miles (119 kilometers) per hour or greater, are better known as hurricanes when they occur in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, or as typhoons when they happen in the Pacific Ocean. Because the word cyclone broadly defines a kind of air flow, cyclones are not confined to our planet. In 1999 the Hubble Space Telescope photographed a cyclone more than 1,610 kilometers (1,000 miles) across in the northern polar regions of Mars.
The American Heritage庐 Science Dictionary Copyright 漏 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for cyclone

cyclone

Any circular wind motion. A region of low atmospheric pressure. Also, a tropical storm.

notes for cyclone

Cyclones can be a few feet across (鈥渄ust devils鈥) or can be major storm systems such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and typhoons.

notes for cyclone

These winds move counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. (See Coriolis effect.)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright 漏 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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