[hur-i-keyn, huhr- or, esp. British, -kuh n]


a violent, tropical, cyclonic storm of the western North Atlantic, having wind speeds of or in excess of 72 miles per hour (32 m/sec).Compare tropical cyclone, typhoon.
a storm of the most intense severity.
anything suggesting a violent storm.
(initial capital letter) Military. a single-seat British fighter plane of World War II, fitted with eight .303 caliber machine guns and with a top speed in excess of 300 miles per hour (480 km/h).

Origin of hurricane

1545–55; < Spanish huracán < Taino hurakán
Can be confusedcyclone hurricane tidal wave tornado tsunami typhoon Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for hurricane

gale, tornado, storm, cyclone, twister, monsoon, blow, typhoon, tempest, whirlwind

Examples from the Web for hurricane

Contemporary Examples of hurricane

Historical Examples of hurricane

  • The rain, falling in a deluge, was driven by a wind like a hurricane.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • The wind swelled to a hurricane, and the rain dashed like a flood against the glass.

    Maid Marian

    Thomas Love Peacock

  • If the hurricane swept away our tent, I dont know where we should find it again.

    The Field of Ice

    Jules Verne

  • It was like a hurricane of delirium rushing by and laying every head in the dust.

  • The hurricane, the most furious ever felt in the province, lasted three days.

    The History of Louisiana

    Le Page Du Pratz

British Dictionary definitions for hurricane



a severe, often destructive storm, esp a tropical cyclone
  1. a wind of force 12 or above on the Beaufort scale
  2. (as modifier)a wind of hurricane force
anything acting like such a wind

Word Origin for hurricane

C16: from Spanish huracán, from Taino hurakán, from hura wind
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

Word Origin and History for hurricane

1550s, a partially deformed adoptation from Spanish huracan (Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdés, "Historia General y Natural de las Indias," 1547-9), furacan (in the works of Pedro Mártir De Anghiera, chaplain to the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and historian of Spanish explorations), from an Arawakan (W. Indies) word. In Portuguese, it became furacão. For confusion of initial -f- and -h- in Spanish, see hacienda. The word is first in English in Richard Eden's "Decades of the New World":

These tempestes of the ayer (which the Grecians caule Tiphones ...) they caule furacanes.

OED records 39 different spellings, mostly from the late 16c., including forcane, herrycano, harrycain, hurlecane. Modern form became frequent from 1650, established after 1688. Shakespeare uses hurricano ("King Lear," "Troilus and Cressida"), but in reference to waterspouts.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hurricane in Science



A severe, rotating tropical storm with heavy rains and cyclonic winds exceeding 74 mi (119 km) per hour, especially such a storm occurring in the Northern Hemisphere. Hurricanes originate in the tropical parts of the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean Sea and move generally northward. They lose force when they move over land or colder ocean waters. See Note at cyclone.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

hurricane in Culture


A large tropical storm system with high-powered circular winds. (See cyclone and eye of a hurricane.)


Between July and October, hurricanes cause extensive damage along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. (See Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.