Definition: Williwaw has two meanings:
- A strong wind gust that happens in mountains and high latitudes. Williwaw represents violent wind gusts of cold air that happen suddenly at high elevations.
- A sudden and violent commotion such as a fight, riot, or other unexpected public disturbance.
In both use cases, we see williwaws as unexpected and sudden. There is often no explanation or identifiable cause of their sudden appearance.
Etymology: We first see the use of the word williwaw appear in 19th-century writing. British writers used the term to describe the violent winds that occurred along the southern coast of South America. Etymologists and researchers aren’t sure where the term originated before British sailors brought it into the mainstream.
In a Sentence
The recent blizzard created a williwaw that downed power lines and trees in the neighborhood.
The press frenzy caused a williwaw of excitement when the verdict was read, and the defendant was found guilty.
Mountain climbers were terrified when they experienced a williwaw that threatened their footing.