[ wind-fawl ]
/ ˈwɪndˌfɔl /


an unexpected gain, piece of good fortune, or the like.
something blown down by the wind, as fruit.


accruing in unexpectedly large amounts: windfall profits.

Origin of windfall

late Middle English word dating back to 1425–75; see origin at wind1, fall Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for windfall

British Dictionary definitions for windfall


/ (ˈwɪndˌfɔːl) /


a piece of unexpected good fortune, esp financial gain
something blown down by the wind, esp a piece of fruit
mainly US and Canadian a plot of land covered with trees blown down by the wind
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 windfall



mid-15c., from wind (n.) + fall (n.1). Originally literal, in reference to wood or fruit blown down by the wind, and thus free to all. Figurative sense of "unexpected acquisition" is recorded from 1540s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for windfall


An unexpected profit from a business or other source. The term connotes gaining huge profits without working for them — for example, when oil companies profit from a temporary scarcity of oil.

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.