Meteorology. a potentially violent and destructive system of atmospheric circulation, characterized by a long, funnel-shaped cloud extending toward the ground and made visible by condensation and debris: although tornadoes have occurred on all continents except Antarctica, they are most common in the United States, especially in the area known as Tornado Alley. : Compare waterspout (def. 3).
Meteorology. a violent squall or whirlwind of small extent, as one of those occurring during the summer on the west coast of Africa.
a violent outburst, as of emotion or activity: The weekly tornado has arrived—in the form of my three grandchildren and their two dogs.
Tornado, Military. a supersonic, two-seat, multipurpose military aircraft produced jointly by West Germany, Britain, and Italy and capable of flying in darkness and bad weather.
- tor·nad·ic [tawr-nad-ik, -ney-dik], /tɔrˈnæd ɪk, -ˈneɪ dɪk/, adjective
- tor·na·do·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use tornado in a sentence
The tornado watch includes Charles, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Baltimore counties and locations to the east, including the entire Delmarva Peninsula.
Any storms that develop run the risk of producing gusty winds and heavy rain, and a tornado is not out of the question.PM Update: Heavy rain overnight. Gusty showers and storms possible Monday afternoon. | Greg Porter | November 29, 2020 | Washington Post
For me, I found that wandering in the woods alone with a sense of purpose was exactly the thing I needed to weather the fire tornado of anxiety the pandemic had produced.
Power outages are all too common when the weather gets extreme—blizzards, hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes, and far more can leave you in the dark for days or weeks.
A certain stretch of the Midwest known as tornado Alley, which stretches from mid-Texas up to North Dakota, is plagued by a high frequency of tornadoes.
No wonder, to 123 quote again from Huneker, that “all sweeps along in tornadic passion.”How to Appreciate Music | Gustav Kobb
Tornadic force means anything more than one hundred miles an hour.The True Story of Our National Calamity of Flood, Fire and Tornado | Logan Marshall
This eruption of Mt. Soufrire was accompanied by the same tornadic blast of glowing air.The Wonder Book of Volcanoes and Earthquakes | Edwin J. Houston
British Dictionary definitions for tornado
Also called: cyclone, (US and Canadian informal) twister a violent storm with winds whirling around a small area of extremely low pressure, usually characterized by a dark funnel-shaped cloud causing damage along its path
a small but violent squall or whirlwind, such as those occurring on the West African coast
any violently active or destructive person or thing
(often capital) a type of dinghy, designed to be crewed by two people
- tornadic (tɔːˈnædɪk), adjective
- tornado-like, adjective
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 tornado
A violently rotating column of air extending from a cumulonimbus cloud to the Earth, ranging in width from a few meters to more than a kilometer and whirling at speeds between 64 km (40 mi) and 509 km (316 mi) per hour or higher with comparable updrafts in the center of the vortex. The vortex may contain several smaller vortices rotating within it. Tornadoes typically take the form of a twisting, funnel-shaped cloud extending downward from storm clouds, often reaching the ground, and dissolving into thin, ropelike clouds as the tornado dissipates. Tornadoes may travel from a few dozen meters to hundreds of kilometers along the ground. Tornadoes usually form in the tail end of violent thunderstorms, with weaker funnels sometimes forming in groups along a leading squall line of an advancing cold front or in areas near a hurricane. The strongest tornadoes, which may last several hours and travel hundreds of kilometers, can cause massive destruction in a relatively narrow strip along their path. The causes of tornado formation are not well understood.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cultural definitions for tornado
In meteorology, a storm in which high-speed winds move in a funnel-shaped pattern.
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.