perfect storm

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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Noun[edit]

perfect storm (plural perfect storms)

  1. (meteorology, informal) A powerful hurricane or other major weather disturbance, especially as produced by a combination of meteorological conditions.
    • 1796, William Fordyce Mavor, Historical account of the most celebrated voyages, travels, and discoveries ..., p. 161,
      But on the 24th of April, the wind again blew a perfect storm, and our other ships of the squadron separated, nor did any of them rejoin the commodore.
    • 1914, Samuel Finley Breese Morse and Edward Lind Morse, Samuel F.B. Morse: His Letters and Journals, p. 190,
      Ten o'clock. Beginning to blow hard; taking in sails one after another. — Three o'clock. A perfect storm; the gale a few days ago but a gentle breeze to it.
  2. (figuratively, by extension) A situation where a calamity is caused by the convergence and amplifying interaction of a number of factors.
    • 1862, Frank Moore, Edward Everett, The Rebellion Record: A Diary of American Events, p. 149,
      They sent a perfect storm of bullets, over, under, and into our men.
    • 2008, Jim Coyle, "Stormy weather for tourism season," Toronto Star, 30 Jun., p. AA8,
      Tory said he was worried that "a perfect storm" of economic factors could put tourist operators and their communities in peril.