willy willy

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See also: willy-willy


Alternative forms[edit]


From Yindjibarndi wili wili (or a related language of northwest Australia).


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willy willy (plural willy willies)

  1. (Australia) A whirlwind, cyclone or tornado; a dust devil. [from 19th c.]
    • 1987, Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines, Vintage, published 1998, page 97:
      The willy-willy roared and crackled as it approached; sucked up leaves, branches, plastic, paper and scraps of metal sheet, spiralling them into the sky and then sweeping across the camp-ground and on towards the road.
    • 2000, John Marsden, Burning for Revenge, page 29:
      There were sheets of roofing iron torn off by the willy-willy of 1994, tanks with holes in them, a few other cars and tractors, and bits of machinery.
    • 2000, Blake Education staff, Terrific Topics: Middle Primary: Book 1, Blake Education, Australia, page 92,
      Hurricanes, cyclones, willy-willies and typhoons are all storms with incredibly strong and powerful winds.
    • 2009, Keith Scott; Colin Pain, Regolith Science, page 384:
      None of the coarser deposits have been observed to move on at any of the lander sites; however, dust accumulates and is removed both seasonally and by local wind gusts and willy willies (dust devils; Greeley et al. 2006).
    • 2013, Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Random House, published 2014, Part Five, Chapter 12:
      There was wind behind them and wind coming at them, fire everywhere and wind whipping up willy-willies of swirling red embers, glowing magic cones that turned everything they touched into flame.