squall

1
[ skwawl ]
/ skwɔl /

noun

Meteorology. a sudden, strong wind of brief duration that is sustained for at least two minutes at a speed of at least 16 knots (18 miles per hour, 8 meters per second), often accompanied by precipitation, and then rapidly diminishes in speed: We can’t rule out some short spells of heavy rain, as occasional squalls from the north are expected later today.Compare gust1 (def. 1).
Nautical. any local storm on navigable water that is typically sudden and severe, with strong winds often accompanied by precipitation and sometimes thunder and lightning: He got soaked in a squall out in the bay, but thank heavens his skiff was just a few dozen yards from shore.
a sudden disturbance or commotion: Holidays with her family were always unnerving—you never knew when a pleasant moment was going to erupt into a chaotic squall.

verb (used without object)

Meteorology, Nautical. to blow as a squall: They say it may squall, but I say we should go ahead with our picnic plans.

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Origin of squall

1
First recorded in 1690–1700; perhaps special use of squall2

OTHER WORDS FROM squall

squall·ish, adjective

Definition for squall (2 of 2)

squall2
[ skwawl ]
/ skwɔl /

verb (used without object)

to cry or scream loudly and violently:The hungry baby began to squall.

verb (used with object)

to utter in a screaming tone.

noun

the act or sound of squalling: The baby's squall was heard next door.

Origin of squall

2
1625–35; perhaps <Old Norse skvala shriek, cry; compare Swedish, Norwegian skvala splash, stream

OTHER WORDS FROM squall

squaller, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for squall

  • A squall on the sea is a stress of weather, and a squaller on land is a songstress.

    The New Pun Book|Thomas A. Brown and Thomas Joseph Carey

British Dictionary definitions for squall (1 of 2)

squall1
/ (skwɔːl) /

noun

a sudden strong wind or brief turbulent storm
any sudden commotion or show of temper

verb

(intr) to blow in a squall

Derived forms of squall

squallish, adjectivesqually, adjective

Word Origin for squall

C18: perhaps a special use of squall ²

British Dictionary definitions for squall (2 of 2)

squall2
/ (skwɔːl) /

verb

(intr) to cry noisily; yell

noun

a shrill or noisy yell or howl

Derived forms of squall

squaller, noun

Word Origin for squall

C17: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Icelandic skvala to shout; see squeal
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 squall

squall
[ skwôl ]

A brief, sudden, violent windstorm, often accompanied by rain or snow. A squall is said to occur if a wind having a sustained speed of 40 km (25 mi) per hour lasts at least 1 minute and then decreases rapidly. See also squall line.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.