As a writer, you’ll have to find the most unique and effective words to describe every emotion, sight and general experience you are trying to convey to your readers. Sometimes, you’ll even need words to describe wind to refer to certain characteristics such as temperature, force and sound.
In other instances, the words to describe wind can be used in a way to describe how it feels on a character’s skin or how other people react to the wind. We are sure you are good at what you do, but a good writer is always looking for ways to improve his/her craft.
Here are 31 examples of words to describe wind that can better express yourself to your audience:
What is the wind like in your writing?
Before we get to the words to describe wind, let us first establish what the wind is like in your writing. What we mean by that is what is the force of the wind?
Wind is always moving air, but it can be gentle, such as a light breeze, or violent, as in a hurricane or tornado. The first thing you should do is establish the force of the wind.
The force of the wind is measured in knots on the Beaufort Wind Scale and is further described by the effect it has on the surroundings. The most common terms include:
This is a force of 0 with wind knots of less than 1. Here, the surface of water bodies such as the sea is smooth and mirror-like, and on land, smoke rises vertically and in a uniform manner. This is ideal for a still, almost eerie day since there is usually some sort of wind.
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This has a force of 1 with wind knots of 1 to 3. On land, the smoke drift will indicate wind direction, but the wind is not strong enough to move a wind vane. The sea has scaly ripples and there are no foam crests.
A light breeze has a force of 2 and wind knots of 4 to 6. This is enough for you to feel the wind on your face and for wind vanes to move. There is a very light, almost quiet rustling of leaves, and at this point, small wavelets begin to form; however, there is no breaking.
At a force of 3 and wind knots of 7 to 10, flags are extended, and there is constant movement of leaves and small twigs. At sea, some large wavelets and crests begin to break with scattered whitecaps.
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This stage has a force of 4 and wind knots of 11 to 16. This wind is strong enough to move small tree branches, and dust, loose paper and leaves get lifted slightly off the ground. The wind at this stage causes small waves of 1-4 ft to form, and they become longer with more whitecaps.
At force 5, wind knots increase to 17 to 21 with moderate waves of 4 to 8ft and some spray. Trees in leaf will sway.
A strong breeze has a force of 6 and wind knots of 22 to 27. You will begin to hear whistling and the wind will cause larger branches to sway. Waves at sea will be as large as 8-13 ft, characterized by whitecaps and more spray.
At this point, the force is at 7 and wind knots are 28 to 33. When you look around, you’ll notice that entire trees are beginning to sway, and you will feel the wind resistance while walking. The sea heaps up at this stage, and waves reach up to 19ft with white foam streaking off breakers.
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When the wind reaches gale force, it is at a force of 8 and wind knots of 34 to 40. Here, twigs begin to break off trees on the land, and at sea, waves get moderately high at 18-25ft.
At force 9 and wind knots of 41 to 47, slate blows off roofs, and structural damage occurs on land. At sea, waves reach heights of 23-32ft, and spray may reduce visibility.
A storm is characterized by force 10 and wind knots of 48 to 55. This is seldom experienced on land, but when it is, it causes trees to become uprooted or broken, roofs to be blown off, and considerable structural damage. At sea, waves are very high, ranging from 29-41ft with overhanging sea crests, heavy foaming, and reduced visibility.
This has a force of 11 and wind knots of 56 to 63. Visibility is more reduced, and the sea is covered with foam patches. Waves can reach exceptional heights of 37-52ft.
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At the point of force 12 and wind knots of 64+ the air is filled with foam as well as the sea, and visibility is next to none. Waves exceed 45ft.
Tornadoes are not included on this scale, but it is understood that they are characterized by violent wind speeds. Tornadoes are instead measured on the Fujita Tornado Scale.
This scale begins with an intensity of F0 called a Gale Tornado. A gale tornado measures 35-62 knots and causes minimal damage, inclusive of damage to signboards, shallow-rooted trees, TV antennas, chimneys and windows.
At the end of the scale is F6, otherwise called the Inconceivable Tornado. These winds are extremely unlikely as they range between 277-329 knots, and would level houses, remove houses from foundations, overturn and throw automobiles including trains, throw steel and concrete missiles, and in general cause catastrophic damage.
This would typically be used in fictional pieces if you want to describe an apocalyptic event. Feel free to browse the rest of the Fujita Tornado Scale for more details.
You may have also heard of a wind gust. This describes a sudden, brief increase in wind speed. This can be especially dangerous due to their unpredictable nature and strength.
How to describe wind
After analyzing that list, you should be able to find which scientific word matches what you have in mind. Now, you need some other descriptive words to describe wind to supplement it and really drive home what you’re trying to convey.
Let’s start with these 15 words to describe wind:
Words to describe wind by temperature
Temperature describes how hot or cold something is. Here are some descriptive words to describe wind based on temperature:
Bitter is a commonly used descriptor for the cold. It’s perfect when you want to describe a scenario where the wind ties into the low temperatures.
For example: “She was awoken in the frigid room by the bitter winds flinging the windows open to signal the start of another miserable day.”
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Drafty refers to cold air in otherwise temperate or tropical conditions. These are out of the norm and uncomfortable.
For example: “He quickly zipped up his jacket as he was greeted by the drafty winds brought on by the afternoon showers.”
Dry winds are commonly associated with drought conditions which primarily occur during hot seasons. The effect is devastating on the environment as it causes high evaporation from plants, soils and the air, and is especially uncomfortable for humans.
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For example: “Eric wiped the sweat from his brow and returned his glasses to his face, wishing he had remembered to pack his balaclava to brave the dry winds in the hot desert.”
Use the word fresh to describe cool, welcomed winds that help to refresh you under warm conditions.
For instance: “The young couple pranced across the meadow, their perfect gait parting fresh winds as they went.”
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This is used to describe a sudden breeze that isn’t hot or cold, but lies perfectly between the two.
Here’s an example: “He quickly rolled up the windows and turned on the A/C as he felt the warm winds enter his vehicle.”
Words to describe wind by force
Force describes the intensity or strength of the wind. Here are some words to describe wind based on force:
The term ceaseless is perfect for a wind speed or force that is constant. It does not necessarily have to be gale or storm force winds.
For example: “The ceaseless winds made it their business to unearth the trees that were a part of her amateur landscaping project.”
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As aforementioned, a gust is a sudden increase in wind speed. Use gusty to describe a day where the wind suddenly picks up, then returns to calm before picking up again.
For example: “The group had to cancel their kite-flying outing due to the gusty winds and unpredictable rain patterns that week.”
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Use the word light to describe ideal weather where there is a gentle breeze that doesn’t cause much interruption to the characters’ life or the scene.
For example, “The thief looked forward to the end of his sentence when he would feel the sun and the light wind on his face as a free man.”
Steady is a good descriptor for sustained wind speeds that are agreeable. In this case, the group with the kite would have a successful kite-flying session.
The sentence could be adjusted to: “The group looked forward to kite-flying as the weather report predicted moderately sunny weather and steady winds, the perfect conditions for the sport.”
Use the word savage to describe the most horrific wind conditions. Here, the wind force causes interruption or worse, destruction.
For example: “The fishermen hurried back to shore, lest the savage winds of the hurricane and violent seas capsized their small vessels.”
When there is a strong enough wind, you will hear it. Here are some words to describe wind and what it sounds like to you or the characters:
This is a good adjective to use when the wind seems to be howling in a threatening way.
For example: “The angry winds signaled that it was time to go home and prepare for what was to come.”
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Use this when the force of the wind causes other objects to make noises, such as tree branches against your house, wind shutters, zinc being dragged against the ground, etc.
For example: “The boisterous wind and its companions sure made a racket last night!”
In certain scenarios, the wind can sound pretty scary, especially if a character is already anxious or in an uncertain position.
For example: “As [character’s name] felt around on the ground for something she could use to loosen her bonds, the eerie winds channeled through the cracks in the door and sent a shiver down her spine.”
The wind can tell you a lot about your surroundings if you can’t get to a window to look. Use this when there is no sound, meaning you can’t hear anything from the wind.
For example: “Sheila and her daughter huddled together in the basement during the eye of the storm, wondering why the winds became uncommunicative all of a sudden.”
Moderate winds can sometimes cause a whistling sound.
Here’s how you can describe it: “The only thing she could distinguish was the whistling sound of the wind in the tunnel.”
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Examples of sensory descriptions to describe the winds
Now, let’s describe the wind from another angle. Let’s use words to describe wind based on our senses, or how people react to it.
Here are 16 examples:
By the feeling on your skin
Wind doesn’t always feel the same when it touches your skin. Think about it, does the hot air feel the same as a cool breeze?
Not at all. These are some words to describe wind and how it appeals to the sense of touch:
This is a good word to use in dusty scenes, such as in the desert, perhaps in a sandstorm when a character is being pelted with wind carrying grains of sand and dust. This can also happen in day-to-day life where the wind picks up small particles. The wind will begin to feel uncomfortable, sort of like something is scratching on your skin.
Here’s how you can say it: “He knew they would not last long in the open as the abrasive winds scoured their exposed flesh.
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This only works if you have sore skin such as from sunburn or windburn, an open wound, or chronic pain. The feeling of wind on the skin may irritate the area.
For example: “She was terrified of going outside because she didn’t want her achy skin to be completely covered with the wind.”
Have you ever been driving at night and felt the urge to fall asleep, so you roll down your window for the wind to hit your face and keep you awake? That’s exactly what an awakening wind is.
NB However, it can be very dangerous for the drivers to keep on driving while feeling asleep. The best option would be to pull over and have a power nap.
For example: “Were it not for the awakening wind blowing through the open lecture room, the entire class would have fallen asleep.”