"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Zephyrs and Willy-gwillies


The four ancient Greek winds were Boreas (N wind); Eurus (E wind); Notus (S wind); and Zephyrus (W wind). From the letter we get the English word zephyr which means a gentle breeze or a westerly wind.

Around the world there are many local winds with their own special names. Amongst these are:-

Auster - also known as Sirocco - a hot dusty wind that blows from North Africa to S Europe.

Levanter - An easterly wind in the west Mediterranean in late summer.

Föhn - a warm dry wind down the N Alps.

Mistral - a cold dry wind down the Rhone and other S French valleys.

A willy-gwilly is the name given to an Australian dust-storm or cyclone.


  1. Duh!! I never thought about what the "borealis" in Aurora Borealis means, now I know, thank you! Allow me a tiny correction? It is Scirocco, not Sirocco. Pronounced She-rocco :-)

  2. Thanks Librarian. It is usually called sirocco over here in the UK. Apparently it can be either (or even siroc) according to the dictionary.

  3. Thank you - I didn't know that, I've only ever seen it spelled Scirocco.