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Cyclone Kyarr over the Arabian Sea
Cyclone Fantala over the southwest Indian Ocean near Madagascar
The emoji for cyclone. There's an entry at 🌀


Coined by Henry Piddington, probably in the 1840s, and based on some term in Ancient Greek. Sources disagree on the date and on which Ancient Greek term, though it had to be something derived from either κύκλος (kúklos, circle, wheel) or κυκλόω (kuklóō, go around in a circle, form a circle, encircle), for example the present active participle κυκλῶν (kuklôn). See cycle and wheel.



cyclone (plural cyclones)

  1. (broad sense) A weather phenomenon consisting of a system of winds rotating around a center of low atmospheric pressure
  2. (narrow sense) Such weather phenomenon occurring in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean
  3. A low pressure system.
  4. (informal) The more or less violent, small-scale circulations such as tornadoes, waterspouts, and dust devils.
  5. A strong wind.
  6. A cyclone separator; the cylindrical vortex tube within such a separator


Derived terms[edit]



cyclone (third-person singular simple present cyclones, present participle cycloning, simple past and past participle cycloned)

  1. To separate using a cyclone separator.
    • 1977, Western Miner and Oil Review - Volume 50, page 35:
      The product is cycloned and overflow at 45-50% solids is pumped to primary flotation where 50-70% of the copper is removed as a 21% concentrate.
    • 1988, Dirk J. A. Van Zyl, Steven G. Vick, Hydraulic Fill Structures, page 59:
      The Syncrude Tar Sand Mine in Alberta, Canada uses a similar hydraulic cell construction technique to raise tailings embankments, although tailings are not cycloned.
    • 2013, WA Gould, Tomato Production, Processing and Technology, page 238:
      Some catsup manufacturers demand a hot break before the tomatoes are cycloned in order to retain the largest possible amount of pectin from the tomatoes.
  2. To storm as a cyclone.
    • 1907, O. Henry, “The Purple Dress”, in The Trimmed Lamp:
      What difference if it rained, hailed, blew, snowed, cycloned?
  3. To whirl in spirals as a result of a cyclone or whirlwind-like force.
    • 1997, D. J. H. Jones, Murder in the New Age:
      White dust was cycloning at the bottom of ravines that cut for miles into the red flatness
    • 2018, Wayne Kyle Spitzer, Death Scene, page 2:
      Pine needles cycloned wildly as Jan swung her car into the Institute's parking lot.
    • 2020, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Songs From the Seashell Archives:
      The unicorn stamped and gave him a scornful look as Sally cycloned away from them, but Wulfric laughed to himself a crafty laugh.
    • 2021, Wayne Kyle Spitzer, The Lost Country, page 17:
      He raised his arms in supplication even as the cloak's hood blew back and his hair cycloned—like he was standing in a vortex.
  4. To storm wildly; to be in a frenzy.
    • 20??, Wilyem Clark, The Imbeciliad, page 79:
      When Whyte got an eyeful of our groundsman's Barkjano ass bouncing to a rapid beat, he exploded, not so much in words as in gestures and a rapid departure that contained far greater energy than a trifling “storm”—he cycloned-whirlwinded-squalled and thundergaled out of the house and the whole barbecue.
    • 2013, Dan Tharp·, Africa Lost: Rhodesia's COIN Killing Machine:
      The winds of change cycloned around Rhodesia and the debris began to fall within its borders.
    • 2015, Robert J. Morgan, Mastering Life Before It's Too Late:
      Now, all of a sudden, I had to juggle class schedules with study time and assignment deadlines and work hours. It quickly cycloned into a sort of frantic agitation with all-nighters, near misses, and frenzied nerves.

See also[edit]



Borrowed from English cyclone.



cyclone m (plural cyclones)

  1. cyclone (rotating system of winds)

Further reading[edit]