dust devil

[ duhst-dev-uhl ]
See synonyms for dust devil on Thesaurus.com
  1. a well-developed dust whirl with a diameter of about 10–100 feet (3–30 meters), rotating either clockwise or counterclockwise, common in dry regions on hot, calm afternoons and made visible by the dust, debris, and sand it picks up from the ground: dust devils on average are about 660 feet (200 meters) tall, but some have exceeded a height of 3,280 feet (1 kilometer): We noticed the base of the dust devil following a direct path along the ground, but its uppermost portion was meandering wildly.

Origin of dust devil

First recorded in 1890–95
  • Also called danc·ing dev·il [dans-ing dev-uhl], /ˈdæns ɪŋ ˈdɛv əl/, dirt dev·il [durt-dev-uhl] /ˈdɜrt ˌdɛv əl/ .

Words Nearby dust devil

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use dust devil in a sentence

  • Perseverance has seen a number of dust devils and windstorms sweep through Jezero crater as a beautiful reminder of how environments are always changing, even on a dried-up planet like Mars.

  • Far across the mesa a dust devil spun up and writhed away toward the distant hills.

    Partners of Chance | Henry Herbert Knibbs
  • Then he wheeled like a sudden dust-devil and decamped in a cloud of dust, followed at full pelt by his clattering escort.

    Rung Ho! | Talbot Mundy
  • Perchance, for no mere erratic “dust-devil” is yonder cloud.

    Aletta | Bertram Mitford
  • Your enemy comes upon you like a dust-devil—he appears, strikes, wins or loses, and then disappears again as suddenly as he came.

    On the Heels of De Wet | The Intelligence Officer
  • That's a 'dust devil,' and there's a half dozen more whirling in our direction.

    The Texan Star | Joseph A. Altsheler

British Dictionary definitions for dust devil

dust devil

  1. a strong miniature whirlwind that whips up dust, litter, leaves, etc into the air

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012