a tropical cyclone or hurricane of the western Pacific area and the China seas.
a violent storm or tempest of India.
(initial capital letter) Military.
  1. a single-engine British ground attack aircraft of World War II.
  2. NATO's name for a class of nuclear-powered Soviet ballistic missile submarine carrying 20 multiwarhead missiles.

Origin of typhoon

1580–90; < dialectal Chinese, akin to Chinese dàfēng great wind, altered by association with Greek tȳphôn violent wind
Related formsty·phon·ic [tahy-fon-ik] /taɪˈfɒn ɪk/, adjective
Can be confusedcyclone hurricane tidal wave tornado tsunami typhoon
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for typhoon

Contemporary Examples of typhoon

Historical Examples of typhoon

  • We was heaving cargo overboard like a leaky ship in a typhoon.

    Cape Cod Stories

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • And then he closed resolutely his entries: "Every appearance of a typhoon coming on."


    Joseph Conrad

  • When a typhoon is approaching vessels have to run to Cavite for shelter.

  • Do you think we are going wrong, or that there is a typhoon within hail?

  • Another time, and we were caught in a typhoon off the north coast.

British Dictionary definitions for typhoon



a violent tropical storm or cyclone, esp in the China seas and W Pacific
a violent storm of India
Derived Formstyphonic (taɪˈfɒnɪk), adjective

Word Origin for typhoon

C16: from Chinese tai fung great wind, from tai great + fung wind; influenced by Greek tuphōn whirlwind
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 typhoon

Tiphon "violent storm, whirlwind, tornado," 1550s, from Greek typhon "whirlwind," personified as a giant, father of the winds, perhaps from typhein "to smoke" (cf. typhus). The meaning "cyclone, violent hurricane of India or the China Seas" (1580s) is first recorded in T. Hickock's translation of an account in Italian of a voyage to the East Indies by Caesar Frederick, a merchant of Venice:

concerning which Touffon ye are to vnderstand, that in the East Indies often times, there are not stormes as in other countreys; but euery 10. or 12. yeeres there are such tempests and stormes, that it is a thing incredible, but to those that haue seene it, neither do they know certainly what yeere they wil come. ["The voyage and trauell of M. Caesar Fredericke, Marchant of Venice, into the East India, and beyond the Indies"]

This sense of the word, in reference to titanic storms in the East Indies, first appears in Europe in Portuguese in the mid-16th century. It aparently is from tufan, a word in Arabic, Persian, and Hindi meaning "big cyclonic storm." Yule ["Hobson-Jobson," London, 1903] writes that "the probability is that Vasco [da Gama] and his followers got the tufao ... direct from the Arab pilots." The Arabic word sometimes is said to be from Greek typhon, but other sources consider it purely Semitic, though the Greek word might have influenced the form of the word in English. Al-tufan occurs several times in the Koran for "a flood or storm" and also for Noah's Flood. Chinese (Cantonese) tai fung "a great wind" also might have influenced the form or sense of the word in English, and that term and the Indian one may have had some mutual influence; toofan still means "big storm" in India.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for typhoon



A violent cyclonic storm occurring in the western Pacific Ocean. See Note at cyclone.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for typhoon


In meteorology, a type of cyclone occurring in the western regions of the Pacific Ocean.


A typhoon is similar to a hurricane in levels of destructiveness.
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.