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From Middle English *squalen (not recorded) and squelen (to cry, scream, squall), from Old Norse skvala (to cry out). Cognate with Swedish skvala (to gush, pour down), Norwegian skval (sudden rush of water). The noun is probably from the verb.



squall (plural squalls)

  1. (meteorology) A squall line, multicell line, or part of a squall line.
  2. (often nautical) A sudden storm, as found in a squall line.
  3. A loud cry or wail.



squall (third-person singular simple present squalls, present participle squalling, simple past and past participle squalled)

  1. To cry or wail loudly.
    • 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island:
      Squalling was the word for it, Pew's anger rose so high at these objections; till at last, his passion completely taking the upper hand, he struck at them right and left in his blindness, and his stick sounded heavily on more than one.
    • 1916, Jack London, The Red One:
      Squalling like an infuriated cat, the shadow crashed down
    • 1934 George Orwell, Burmese Days:
      The orchestra burst into a sudden loud squalling."
    • 1998, Anne McCafferey, Masterharper of Pern:
      she wrapped the squalling, wriggling baby tightly into the fine cotton sheet

Derived terms[edit]