or föhn

[ feyn; German fœn ]
/ feɪn; German fœn /
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a warm, dry wind descending a mountain, as on the north side of the Alps.



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Origin of foehn

1860–65; <German Föhn (originally in Alpine dialects), Middle High German foenne,Old High German phōnno<Vulgar Latin *faōnius, for Latin FavōniusFavonius
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for foehn

  • Such a rise in temperature due to compression is a well-known phenomenon, referred to as the Foehn effect.

  • The windward slopes may be very rainy, while neighboring leeward slopes are parched by a dry foehn wind.

    Climatic Changes|Ellsworth Huntington
  • It is a disagreeable freak of nature, and half the people are ill when the Foehn wind blows.

    Twenty Years in Europe|Samuel H. M. Byers

British Dictionary definitions for foehn

/ (fɜːn, German føːn) /


meteorol a variant spelling of föhn
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

Scientific definitions for foehn


A warm, dry, and often strong wind coming off the lee slopes of a mountain range, especially off the northern slopes of the Alps. A foehn is a katabatic wind that warms as it descends because it has dropped its moisture before crossing the mountain range and is put under greater atmospheric pressure as it moves downward. Various local names are also used for foehns (such as chinook in the Rocky Mountain regions). A foehn can cause sudden and dramatic increases in the temperature-from 10° to 20°C (50° to 68°F) in a few minutes-which can cause snow to melt rapidly and even trigger flooding. See also chinook.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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