[ hur-i-keyn, huhr- or, especially British, -kuhn ]
See synonyms for hurricane on
  1. Meteorology. a tropical cyclone of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, or eastern Pacific Ocean, having sustained wind speeds of at least 64 knots (74 miles per hour, 33 meters per second): hurricanes form in waters with surface temperatures of about 80°F (27°C), intensifying as temperatures rise.: Compare typhoon.

  2. anything characterized by a turmoil of force or activity, suggestive of a hurricane: As our helicopter got closer to the canyon, a hurricane of wild horses took off in all directions, kicking up clouds of dust that impaired the pilot’s vision.

  1. Hurricane, 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 kilometers per hour).

Compare Meanings

Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.

Origin of hurricane

First recorded in 1545–55; earlier furacan, hurricano, uracan, from Spanish huracán and Portuguese furacão, from Taíno huracán, furacán

Words that may be confused with hurricane

Words Nearby hurricane Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use hurricane in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hurricane


/ (ˈhʌrɪkən, -keɪn) /

  1. a severe, often destructive storm, esp a tropical cyclone

    • a wind of force 12 or above on the Beaufort scale

    • (as modifier): a wind of hurricane force

  1. anything acting like such a wind

Origin of 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

Scientific definitions for hurricane


[ hûrĭ-kān′ ]

  1. 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.

Cultural definitions for hurricane


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

Notes for 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.