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31 Ways to Better Describe the Wind in Your Writing

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Etiquette & advice

31 Ways to Better Describe the Wind in Your Writing

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:
 

01Calm
 
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.

 

01 two little lovely happy sisters walking on beach water
Photo by YouraPechkin on shutterstock

 

02Light air
 
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.

 
 

03Light breeze
 
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.

 
 

04Gentle breeze
 
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.

 

04 beach shade white gracefully fluttering fabric

Photo by Kuznetsov Dmitriy on shutterstock

 

05Moderate breeze
 
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.

 
 

06Fresh breeze
 
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.

 
 

07Strong breeze
 
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.

 
 

08Near gale
 
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.

 

08 strong wind destroys womans umbrella near the water

Photo by Rainer Fuhrmann on shutterstock

 

09Gale
 
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.

 
 

10Strong gale
 
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.

  

 

11Storm
 
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.

 
 

12Violent storm
 
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.

 

12 rain storm impact coconut treestrong wind
Photo by APHITHANA on shutterstock

 

13Hurricane
 
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:
 

01Bitter
 
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.”

 

01 snowstorm strong wind city nothing visible

Photo by Dmitriy Kochergin on shutterstock

 

02Drafty
 
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.”

 

03Dry
 
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.

03 windy sossusvlei desert namibia

Photo by Morenovel on shutterstock

 
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.”

 

04Fresh
 
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.”

 

04 beautiful blonde walks into field waving hair

Photo by Aleshyn_Andrei on shutterstock

 

05Warm
 
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:
 

06Ceaseless
 
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.”

 

06 Wind Turbine and blue sky background

Photo by ambient_pix on shutterstock

 

07Gusty
 
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.”

 

07 brown and white colored dog on windy hillside

Photo by
S Curtis on shutterstock

 

08Light
 
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.”

 

09Steady
 
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.”

 

10Savage
 
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.”

 

 

Words to describe wind by sound

 
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:
 

11Angry
 
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.”

 

11 seasonal tropical stormy weather causes damage
Photo by Drew McArthur on shutterstock

 

12Boisterous
 
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!”

 

13Eerie
 
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.”

 

14Uncommunicative
 
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.”

 

15Whistling
 
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.”

 

15 beautiful caucasian young woman travel outside looking outside the window

Photo by simona pilolla 2 on shutterstock

 

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:
 

16Abrasive
 
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.

 

16 three horsemen riding sandstorm sea sands greyscale

Photo by donsimon on shutterstock

 

17Achy
 
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.”

 

18Awakening
 
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.”

 

 

19Humid
 
Very rarely do we feel scalding hot wind, even when temperatures are high. In most cases when it’s hot, the atmosphere is humid, and the wind may be described as such.
 
For example: “I didn’t mind the humid wind until I noticed how much my hair started to frizz.”

 

20Piercing
 
Use the word piercing to describe the uncomfortable sensation of a strong cold breeze on your skin. It pairs perfectly with the term bitter, as seen in this sentence:
 
Not knowing how drastic the diurnal range of the area was, she left home without her jacket and suffered the consequence of the bitter, piercing wind assaulting her from all directions.”

 

20 man using transparent umbrella during snow storm street
Photo by Nebojsa Markovic on shutterstock

 

21Refreshing
 
On a hot summer day, the wind can help to revitalize your body, dry the sweat off your face, and make you feel fresh again.
 
For example: “After a cool drink and embracing the refreshing wind on the patio, he was ready to return to gardening.”

 

22Soothing
 
The wind can also feel soothing on your skin, especially if you are embracing nature and are stress-free.
 
For example: “Mother Nature hugged [character’s name] with her soothing winds as she lay in the field.”

 

22 girl travel mountains alone spring weather wearing checkered long sleeves

Photo by Alena Ozerova on shutterstock

 

23Tantalizing
 
This word refers to a stimulating feeling. It can be used to describe the general atmosphere or ambiance of a scene, along with the feeling of the wind against the skin.
 
For example: “The girls overflowed with excitement while they waited in line to feel the tantalizing wind in their face as they rode the Roller Coaster of Doom.”

 

How to describe the wind by how people react to it

 
When the wind contacts our skin, it can evoke different feelings and reactions. Here are some words to describe wind based on how people react to it/feel:
 

24Chattering
 
Use this to relate to a cold environment when cold causes the teeth to chatter.
 
For example: “It was hard to pay attention to anything else over her chattering teeth. Perhaps next time she will learn to bring a sweater to the Windy City.”

 

24 man blowing their hands cold weather

Photo by AlenD on shutterstock

 

25Coughing
 
The wind carries with it pollen, allergens and other pollutants that can cause coughing. Some people react to windy conditions with symptoms such as swollen eyes, stuffiness, sneezing and coughing.
 
Here’s an example: “A characteristic of spring is windy weather, and with that comes the coughing fits I dread.”

 

26Miserable
 
This is a good word to use when the feeling of warm winds and hot environs causes people to feel uncomfortable.
 
For example: “Having to deal with a broken A/C and only feeling a warm breeze is a miserable existence.”

 

27Resistance
 
This describes situations where people are walking and they can feel the force of the wind pushing them back.
 
For example: “ You can’t tell how bad it is from looking outside, but you’ll surely feel the resistance of the wind as soon as you step out.”

 

27 rain city young man holding blue umbrella broken

Photo by Jaromir Chalabala on shutterstock

 

28Surprised
 
This is a good word to describe wind gusts, as they can be unpredictable.
 
For example: “The wind gusts took the woman by surprise as they blew her umbrella down the street.”

 

29Terrified
 
Use this to describe a situation where strong winds cause a person to become fearful.
 
For example: “The terrified elderly couple got caught in a storm while sailing back to shore in their newly bought yacht.”

 

30Quivering
 
This typically occurs when a person is cold and is another word to describe the shaking motion of the body.
 
For example: “It wasn’t long before she began quivering from the bitter winds.”

 

31Unsettling
 
Use the word unsettling with words that suggest suspense, fear or gloomy conditions. It can be used in any situation where people feel nervous, afraid or uncomfortable.
 
For example: “He knew his roof was old and unsecured. That combined with the unsettling winds led to his decision to evacuate to a shelter.”

 

Conclusion

 
There are many more words to describe wind that you’ve probably never even thought of using before. You just have to be more creative, especially when writing.
 
Which words to describe wind are you going to use first and have you thought of any yourself?
 

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