dust devil

[ duhst-dev-uhl ]
/ ˈdʌst ˌdɛv əl /

noun Meteorology.

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.



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Also called danc·ing dev·il [dans-ing dev-uhl], /ˈdæns ɪŋ ˈdɛv əl/, dirt dev·il [durt-dev-uhl] /ˈdɜrt ˌdɛv əl/ .

Origin of dust devil

First recorded in 1890–95
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for dust devil

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for dust devil

dust devil


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