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Just in case someone didnt't know, the word typhoon in its present from most likely came from 台風【たいふう】[taifuu] which is Japanese. Then again, large parts of the Japanese language originated in China. --none 21:38, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

I thought that typhoons are these type of storms in the Western Pacific, NOT Eastern Pacific.

etymology of typhoon[edit]

see also Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2015/August#typhoon.23Etymology

This etymology needs verifying. It lists Chinese as a possible origin but the word it gives is dàféng (大风) and doesn't mention the more phonetically similar táifēng (台风). Tooironic 08:44, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

  • The etymology is complicated, but according to the OED, the Chinese part of the source is: "tai fung, common dialect forms (as in Cantonese) of ta big, and fêng wind". If someone who speaks Cantonese can do something with that, all the better. Ƿidsiþ 08:52, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
    • From American Heritage Dictionary:--Vahagn Petrosyan 09:39, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

Word History: The history of typhoon presents a perfect example of the long journey that many words made in coming to English. It traveled from Greece to Arabia to India, and also arose independently in China, before assuming its current form in our language. The Greek word tuphōn, used both as the name of the father of the winds and a common noun meaning “whirlwind, typhoon,” was borrowed into Arabic during the Middle Ages, when Arabic learning both preserved and expanded the classical heritage and passed it on to Europe and other parts of the world. Ṭūfān, the Arabic version of the Greek word, passed into languages spoken in India, where Arabic-speaking Muslim invaders had settled in the 11th century. Thus the descendant of the Arabic word, passing into English (first recorded in 1588) through an Indian language and appearing in English in forms such as touffon and tufan, originally referred specifically to a severe storm in India. The modern form of typhoon was influenced by a borrowing from the Cantonese variety of Chinese, namely the word taaîfung, and respelled to make it look more like Greek. Taaîfung, meaning literally “great wind,” was coincidentally similar to the Arabic borrowing and is first recorded in English guise as tuffoon in 1699. The various forms coalesced and finally became typhoon, a spelling that first appeared in 1819 in Shelley's Prometheus Unbound.

I read somewhere that the word penetrated European languages from Chinese via Japanese 台風/颱風 (taifū). I doubt it has anything to do with Arabic. It must be Sinitic - either some Chinese dialect or Japanese. --Anatoli 05:59, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
In Cantonese, it's pronounced "toi4 fung1", many Chinese words entered English with Cantonese (or similar) pronunciation. I added Arabic/Persian/Urdu/Hindi translations, including the similar sounding words. I got interested in the etymology. I am not so sure any more. --Anatoli 06:08, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

not Chinese [or not directly][edit]

The Chinese etymology, given by "typhoon" is first attested in 1588
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"]
Let's note that it does not bear the [] graphy expected from a chinese etymology.
French typhon is first attested in 1504 (see “typhon” in le Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).) note: China was reached by Europeans around 1512.
ceux qui la portent [le corail], sont preservez de plusieurs perilz en mer et en terre: et mesmement dun vent fulmineux et subtil, nommé Typhon, qui esrache les arbres. in Jean Lemaire de Belges, "Couronne margaritique"
It is regularly attested in the early sixteenth century in French literature.
TLFi states that French borrowed the modern sens "Asian storm" from Portuguese tufão with first attestation in 1529:
des nuées [...] en la manière d'une chausse à ypocras, la pointe en bas [...] dont nos gens eurent peur, craignant que ce fussent puchets ou tiffons in Le Discours de la navigation de Jean et Raoul Parmentier de Dieppe: Voyage à Sumatra.

--Diligent (talk) 11:26, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

Editor needed for Chinese correction[edit]

'big wind' refers to wind that is not as strong as a typhoon.

The Chinese script for Typhoon is 颱風.

toi4 fung1 (Cantonese); tai2 feng1 (Mandarin)


This is also the language the Hong Kong Observatory uses to classify typhoons. Not "big wind", which is 大風.

I originally had the same thought as you, but then I realised it may be possible that the pronunciation of 大風 in Cantonese may be closer to the pronunication of typhoon in English. It may also be possible that 大風 referred to typhoons in classical Chinese, despite the fact that it doesn't mean that in modern Chinese. I can find no examples of 颱風 in Chinese texts before the Qing dynasty, while of course there is plenty for 大風 in all periods. Either way, we need to work more on this etymology. ---> Tooironic (talk) 07:14, 30 May 2016 (UTC)