[noun wind, Literary wahynd; verb wind]


verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to catch the scent or odor of game.


    between wind and water,
    1. (of a ship) at or near the water line.
    2. in a vulnerable or precarious spot: In her profession one is always between wind and water.
    break wind, to expel gas from the stomach and bowels through the anus.
    how the wind blows/lies, what the tendency or probability is: Try to find out how the wind blows.Also which way the wind blows.
    in the teeth of the wind, sailing directly into the wind; against the wind.Also in the eye of the wind, in the wind's eye.
    in the wind, about to occur; imminent; impending: There's good news in the wind.
    off the wind,
    1. away from the wind; with the wind at one's back.
    2. (of a sailing vessel) headed into the wind with sails shaking or aback.
    on the wind, as close as possible to the wind.Also on a wind.
    sail close to the wind,
    1. Also sail close on a sail as nearly as possible in the direction from which the wind is blowing.
    2. to practice economy in the management of one's affairs.
    3. to verge on a breach of propriety or decency.
    4. to escape (punishment, detection, etc.) by a narrow margin; take a risk.
    take the wind out of one's sails, to surprise someone, especially with unpleasant news; stun; shock; flabbergast: She took the wind out of his sails when she announced she was marrying someone else.

Origin of wind

before 900; Middle English (noun), Old English; cognate with Dutch, German Wind, Old Norse vindr, Gothic winds, Latin ventus

Synonyms for wind

1. Wind, air, zephyr, breeze, blast, gust refer to a quantity of air set in motion naturally. Wind applies to any such air in motion, blowing with whatever degree of gentleness or violence. Air, usually poetical, applies to a very gentle motion of the air. Zephyr, also poetical, refers to an air characterized by its soft, mild quality. A breeze is usually a cool, light wind. Blast and gust apply to quick, forceful winds of short duration; blast implies a violent rush of air, often a cold one, whereas a gust is little more than a flurry. 16. flatulence.



verb (used without object), wound or (Rare) wind·ed [wahyn-did] /ˌwaɪn dɪd/; wind·ing.

to change direction; bend; turn; take a frequently bending course; meander: The river winds through the forest.
to have a circular or spiral course or direction.
to coil or twine about something: The ivy winds around the house.
to proceed circuitously or indirectly.
to undergo winding or winding up.
to be twisted or warped, as a board.

verb (used with object), wound or (Rare) wind·ed [wahyn-did] /ˌwaɪn dɪd/; wind·ing.

to encircle or wreathe, as with something twined, wrapped, or placed about.
to roll or coil (thread, string, etc.) into a ball, on a spool, or the like (often followed by up).
to remove or take off by unwinding (usually followed by off or from): She wound the thread off the bobbin.
to twine, fold, wrap, or place about something.
to make (a mechanism) operational by tightening the mainspring with a key (often followed by up): to wind a clock; to wind up a toy.
to haul or hoist by means of a winch, windlass, or the like (often followed by up).
to make (one's or its way) in a bending or curving course: The stream winds its way through the woods.
to make (one's or its way) by indirect, stealthy, or devious procedure: to wind one's way into another's confidence.


the act of winding.
a single turn, twist, or bend of something wound: If you give it another wind, you'll break the mainspring.
a twist producing an uneven surface.

Verb Phrases

wind down,
  1. to lessen in intensity so as to bring or come to a gradual end: The war is winding down.
  2. to calm down; relax: He's too excited tonight to wind down and sleep.
wind up,
  1. to bring to a state of great tension; excite (usually used in the past participle): He was all wound up before the game.
  2. to bring or come to an end; conclude: to wind up a sales campaign.
  3. to settle or arrange in order to conclude: to wind up one's affairs.
  4. to become ultimately: to wind up as a country schoolteacher.
  5. Baseball.(of a pitcher) to execute a windup.


    out of wind, (of boards, plasterwork, etc.) flat and true.

Origin of wind

before 900; Middle English winden, Old English windan; cognate with Dutch, German winden, Old Norse vinda, Gothic -windan; akin to wend, wander


[wahynd, wind]

verb (used with object), wind·ed or wound, wind·ing.

to blow (a horn, a blast, etc.).
to sound by blowing.
to signal or direct by blasts of the horn or the like.

Origin of wind

1375–1425; late Middle English; special use of wind1


or W.Ind.

West Indian. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wind

Contemporary Examples of wind

Historical Examples of wind

  • The spirit of the strong man was moved, and he trembled like a leaf shaken by the wind.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • But the upper edges are ragged, torn by a wind not yet felt below.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The wind was strong from the westward, accompanied with light showers all day.

  • It faded soon into a gray fog, with puffs of wind from the southwest again.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Now it is a seed upon the wind, taking root in many nations.

British Dictionary definitions for wind




a current of air, sometimes of considerable force, moving generally horizontally from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressureSee also Beaufort scale Related adjective: aeolian
mainly poetic the direction from which a wind blows, usually a cardinal point of the compass
air artificially moved, as by a fan, pump, etc
any sweeping and destructive force
a trend, tendency, or forcethe winds of revolution
informal a hint; suggestionwe got wind that you were coming
something deemed insubstantialhis talk was all wind
breath, as used in respiration or talkyou're just wasting wind
(often used in sports) the power to breathe normallyhis wind is weak See also second wind
  1. a wind instrument or wind instruments considered collectively
  2. (often plural)the musicians who play wind instruments in an orchestra
  3. (modifier)of, relating to, or composed of wind instrumentsa wind ensemble
an informal name for flatus
the air on which the scent of an animal is carried to hounds or on which the scent of a hunter is carried to his quarry
between wind and water
  1. the part of a vessel's hull below the water line that is exposed by rolling or by wave action
  2. any point particularly susceptible to attack or injury
break wind to release intestinal gas through the anus
get the wind up or have the wind up informal to become frightened
have in the wind to be in the act of following (quarry) by scent
how the wind blows, how the wind lies, which way the wind blows or which way the wind lies what appears probable
in the wind about to happen
three sheets in the wind informal intoxicated; drunk
in the teeth of the wind or in the eye of the wind directly into the wind
into the wind against the wind or upwind
off the wind nautical away from the direction from which the wind is blowing
on the wind nautical as near as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing
put the wind up informal to frighten or alarm
raise the wind British informal to obtain the necessary funds
sail close to the wind or sail near to the wind
  1. to come near the limits of danger or indecency
  2. to live frugally or manage one's affairs economically
take the wind out of someone's sails to destroy someone's advantage; disconcert or deflate

verb (tr)

to cause (someone) to be short of breaththe blow winded him
  1. to detect the scent of
  2. to pursue (quarry) by following its scent
to cause (a baby) to bring up wind after feeding by patting or rubbing on the back
to expose to air, as in drying, ventilating, etc
Derived Formswindless, adjectivewindlessly, adverbwindlessness, noun

Word Origin for wind

Old English wind; related to Old High German wint, Old Norse vindr, Gothic winds, Latin ventus



verb winds, winding or wound

(often foll by around, about, or upon) to turn or coil (string, cotton, etc) around some object or point or (of string, etc) to be turned etc, around some object or pointhe wound a scarf around his head
(tr) to twine, cover, or wreathe by or as if by coiling, wrapping, etc; encirclewe wound the body in a shroud
(tr often foll by up) to tighten the spring of (a clockwork mechanism)
(tr foll by off) to remove by uncoiling or unwinding
(usually intr) to move or cause to move in a sinuous, spiral, or circular coursethe river winds through the hills
(tr) to introduce indirectly or deviouslyhe is winding his own opinions into the report
(tr) to cause to twist or revolvehe wound the handle
(tr; usually foll by up or down) to move by crankingplease wind up the window
(tr) to haul, lift, or hoist (a weight, etc) by means of a wind or windlass
(intr) (of a board, etc) to be warped or twisted
(intr) archaic to proceed deviously or indirectly


the act of winding or state of being wound
a single turn, bend, etca wind in the river
Also called: winding a twist in a board or plank
See also wind down, wind up
Derived Formswindable, adjective

Word Origin for wind

Old English windan; related to Old Norse vinda, Old High German wintan (German winden)



verb winds, winding, winded or wound

(tr) poetic to blow (a note or signal) on (a horn, bugle, etc)

Word Origin for wind

C16: special use of wind 1
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 wind

"air in motion," Old English wind, from Proto-Germanic *wendas (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Dutch wind, Old Norse vindr, Old High German wind, German Wind, Gothic winds), from PIE *we-nt-o- "blowing," from root *we- "to blow" (cf. Sanskrit va-, Greek aemi-, Gothic waian, Old English wawan, Old High German wajan, German wehen, Old Church Slavonic vejati "to blow;" Sanskrit vatah, Avestan vata-, Hittite huwantis, Latin ventus, Old Church Slavonic vetru, Lithuanian vejas "wind;" Lithuanian vetra "tempest, storm;" Old Irish feth "air;" Welsh gwynt, Breton gwent "wind").

Normal pronunciation evolution made this word rhyme with kind and rind (Donne rhymes it with mind), but it shifted to a short vowel 18c., probably from influence of windy, where the short vowel is natural. A sad loss for poets, who now must rhyme it only with sinned and a handful of weak words. Symbolic of emptiness and vanity since late 13c.

I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind. [Ernest Dowson, 1896]

Meaning "breath" is attested from late Old English; especially "breath in speaking" (early 14c.), so long-winded, also "easy or regular breathing" (early 14c.), hence second wind in the figurative sense (by 1830), an image from the sport of hunting.

Figurative phrase which way the wind blows for "the current state of affairs" is suggested from c.1400. To get wind of "receive information about" is by 1809, perhaps inspired by French avoir le vent de. To take the wind out of (one's) sails in the figurative sense (by 1883) is an image from sailing, where a ship without wind can make no progress. Wind-chill index is recorded from 1939. Wind energy from 1976. Wind vane from 1725.


"move by turning and twisting," Old English windan "to turn, twist, wind" (class III strong verb; past tense wand, past participle wunden), from Proto-Germanic *wendanan (cf. Old Saxon windan, Old Norse vinda, Old Frisian winda, Dutch winden, Old High German wintan, German winden, Gothic windan "to wind"), from PIE *wendh- "to turn, wind, weave" (cf. Latin viere "twist, plait, weave," vincire "bind;" Lithuanian vyti "twist, wind").

Related to wend, which is its causative form, and to wander. Wind down "come to a conclusion" is recorded from 1952; wind up "come to a conclusion" is from 1825. Winding sheet "shroud of a corpse" is attested from early 15c.


"to perceive by scent, get wind of," early 15c., from wind (n.1). Of horns, etc., "make sound by blowing through," from 1580s. Meaning "tire, put out of breath; render temporarily breathless by a blow or punch" is from 1811, originally in pugilism. Related: Winded; winding.


"an act of winding round," 1825, from wind (v.1) . Earlier, "an apparatus for winding," late 14c., in which use perhaps from a North Sea Germanic word, e.g. Middle Dutch, Middle Low German winde "windlass."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

wind in Science



A current of air, especially a natural one that moves along or parallel to the ground, moving from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. Surface wind is measured by anemometers or its effect on objects, such as trees. The large-scale pattern of winds on Earth is governed primarily by differences in the net solar radiation received at the Earth's surface, but it is also influenced by the Earth's rotation, by the distribution of continents and oceans, by ocean currents, and by topography. On a local scale, the differences in rate of heating and cooling of land versus bodies of water greatly affect wind formation. Prevailing global winds are classified into three major belts in the Northern Hemisphere and three corresponding belts in the Southern Hemisphere. The trade winds blow generally east to west toward a low-pressure zone at the equator throughout the region from 30° north to 30° south of the equator. The westerlies blow from west to east in the temperate mid-latitude regions (from 30° to 60° north and south of the equator), and the polar easterlies blow from east to west out of high-pressure areas in the polar regions. See also Beaufort scale chinook foehn monsoon Santa Ana.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with wind


In addition to the idioms beginning with wind

  • wind down
  • wind up

also see:

  • before the wind
  • break wind
  • get wind of
  • gone with the wind
  • ill wind
  • in the wind
  • like greased lightning (the wind)
  • sail close to the wind
  • second wind
  • something in the wind
  • straw in the wind
  • take the wind out of one's sails
  • three sheets to the wind
  • throw caution to the winds
  • twist in the wind
  • way the wind blows
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.