[ tawr-ney-doh ]
/ tɔrˈneɪ doʊ /

noun, plural tor·na·does, tor·na·dos.

a localized, violently destructive windstorm occurring over land, especially in the Middle West, and characterized by a long, funnel-shaped cloud extending toward the ground and made visible by condensation and debris.Compare waterspout(def 3).
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.
(initial capital letter) 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.



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Origin of tornado

1550–60; apparently by metathesis < Spanish tronada thunderstorm, noun use of feminine of tronado, past participle of tronar < Latin tonāre to thunder; replacing 16th-century ternado, with unexplained e


tor·nad·ic [tawr-nad-ik, -ney-dik] /tɔrˈnæd ɪk, -ˈneɪ dɪk/, adjectivetor·na·do·like, adjective


cyclone hurricane tidal wave tornado tsunami typhoon Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for tornadic

British Dictionary definitions for tornadic

/ (tɔːˈneɪdəʊ) /

noun plural -does or -dos

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

Derived forms of tornado

tornadic (tɔːˈnædɪk), adjectivetornado-like, adjective

Word Origin for tornado

C16: probably alteration of Spanish tronada thunderstorm (from tronar to thunder, from Latin tonāre), through influence of tornar to turn, from Latin tornāre to turn in a lathe
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 tornadic

[ tôr-nādō ]

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 tornadic


In meteorology, a storm in which high-speed winds move in a funnel-shaped pattern.

notes for tornado

Tornadoes occur chiefly during thunderstorms.

notes for tornado

If the tip of the funnel touches the ground, it can cause extensive damage.

notes for tornado

Tornadoes are common in the Middle West.
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.