Main meanings of wind in English

: wind1wind2


See synonyms for wind

Translate wind into Spanish


  • 1The perceptible natural movement of the air, especially in the form of a current of air blowing from a particular direction.

    ‘the wind howled about the building’
    • ‘an easterly wind’
    • ‘gusts of wind’
    • ‘Strong winds blowing in the direction of the arrow keep air confined in the vortex.’
    • ‘Strong winds blow a sandstorm through the camp when suddenly the sound of large artillery rounds is heard about 300 meters away.’
    • ‘It is believed that they have picked up metals blown off the bombing range by the strong easterly winds that regularly blow across the island.’
    • ‘If these winds blew the same direction all the time, the dunes would line up crosswise to the breeze.’
    • ‘Can they move it up and down in altitude to catch winds blowing in different directions?’
    • ‘Circular exclusion zones around contaminated farms will mean nothing if there is a strong wind blowing in one direction.’
    • ‘It is subject to constant dust-laden winds variously known as sirocco, khamsin, simoom and harmattan.’
    • ‘The south-westerly monsoon winds bring copious amounts of rain from June onwards.’
    • ‘On occasion, severe frosts, biting easterly winds and snowfall can result in winter casualties.’
    • ‘When the mistral winds blow it is particularly chilly, so a property with some kind of central heating is a necessity.’
    • ‘Easterly winds predominate near the equator and also in the lower atmosphere at the poles.’
    • ‘The pollen count in the Midlands has very little dependency on the direction the winds are coming from.’
    • ‘Snow slurries were expected to leave the region shivering today, with the promise of raw northerly winds, possibly gale force, blowing into tomorrow.’
    • ‘Conditions were poor with bright sunshine and north easterly winds.’
    • ‘Hours of rain accompanied by strong gale force winds of up to 80 mph contributed to some of the most adverse weather conditions the area has seen in decades.’
    • ‘The weather might change if the winds turn easterly or southerly.’
    • ‘The wind blows in different directions within the cloud and forms a funnel.’
    • ‘The wind howled from a south westerly direction making the weather feel quite warm for the time of the year.’
    • ‘Certainly the curtains moved when the wind blew from one direction or the other.’
    • ‘Cars were damaged by debris being blown around in the wind and torrential rain.’
    1. 1.1Used in reference to an impending situation.
      ‘he had seen which way the wind was blowing’
      • ‘there is trouble in the wind’
      • ‘There's trouble in the wind.’
      • ‘The vibes coming out of the company suggest that radical change is not in the wind.’
      • ‘Even media moguls like him are beginning to feel the chill wind of recession.’
      on the way, coming, about to happen, in the offing, in the air, close at hand, on the horizon, approaching, imminent, impending, looming, brewing, afoot
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2mass noun Wind as a source of energy from which power for domestic or industrial use may be generated.
      • ‘carbon-free energy sources like solar and wind’
    3. 1.3The rush of air caused by a fast-moving body.
      • ‘It lands so quietly, you can only hear the rush of the wind in the top of the trees.’
    4. 1.4A scent carried by the wind, indicating the presence or proximity of an animal or person.
  • 2mass noun Breath as needed in physical exertion, speech, etc., or the power of breathing without difficulty in such situations.

    ‘he waited while Jez got his wind back’
    • ‘she hit the floor with a thud that knocked the wind out of her’
    • ‘Jackson repeated the chorus twice more before they all put down their instruments and left me with my wind knocked out.’
    • ‘The wind was knocked out of her for the second time in five minutes.’
    • ‘The wind was knocked out of her, and she lay gasping for breath.’
    • ‘She landed with a thud, and rolled, tucking her feet underneath her as the wind rushed out of her again.’
    • ‘He gave out an involuntary sigh as the wind rushed from his lungs and he dropped to his knees.’
    • ‘A hand flew across my face, and I crashed to the ground, the wind rushing out of me so hard I choked.’
    • ‘The wind came rushing out of her, and she was left gasping for air.’
    • ‘Not many singers have the wind to make it all the way to the end.’
  • 3British mass noun Air swallowed while eating or gas generated in the stomach and intestines by digestion.

    ‘The fruit, its oils and the kernel were traditionally used to treat severe acid stomach, excess wind, fatigue after menstruation and the common cold.’
    • ‘People with a predominance of phlegm are generally healthy, whereas those with predominance of bile or wind are always of indifferent health.’
    • ‘These foods encourage the production of wind, and may aggravate colic.’
    • ‘Eggs and fish often cause problems with bad smells, and fizzy drinks and beer produce excess wind and runny motions.’
    • ‘Some antacids also contain ingredients that relieve the symptoms of gas or trapped wind.’
    • ‘But there are other possible causes such as wind or stomach ulcers.’
    • ‘It is generally relieved by passing wind or actually having a bowel movement.’
    • ‘Certain foods may cause excess wind, including pulses (peas, beans, etc.), dried fruit and peanuts.’
    • ‘Her abdominal pain felt like ‘trapped wind,’ becoming progressively worse throughout the day.’
    • ‘A medicine called dimeticone is available to relieve trapped wind.’
    • ‘This may briefly cause pains similar to having wind and the urge to go to the toilet, but as the colon is empty, this will not be possible.’
    • ‘Other symptoms include a bloated abdomen, excess wind, nausea, vomiting and indigestion.’
    • ‘It is reputed as a drug which dispels wind from the stomach and counteracts spasmodic disorders.’
    • ‘Do not be tempted to add solid foods to your baby's bottle feed in an attempt to help them sleep at night, as this can cause wind and colic.’
    • ‘You may also experience an increase in wind at first but this will settle.’
    • ‘Due to weakness of bladder and stomach I experience involuntary discharge of urine and wind.’
    • ‘In the longer term, some people experience ongoing abdominal symptoms, such as pain, bloating, wind and diarrhoea.’
    • ‘Do you ever lose control of wind or bowel motions from your back passage between visits to the toilet?’
    • ‘Some babies may need help in bringing up wind after a feed.’
    • ‘Even the slightest pressure from clothing, bedsheets or wind may elicit pain.’
    flatulence, flatus, gas
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1Empty, pompous, or boastful talk; meaningless rhetoric.
      ‘So, in other words, another international confluence of hot wind and gassy rhetoric thus comes to pass.’
      • ‘It was, of course, all empty wind and unfounded wailing, but it still had an impact.’
      • ‘She is just full of wind and hot air.’
      • ‘It was all wind and hot air as they promised to smash the state, smash the administration, smash this, smash that.’
      • ‘Get real; your councillors say lots of things but like your counterparts in Government, you're all wind and air.’
      nonsense, balderdash, gibberish, claptrap, blarney, blather, blether
      View synonyms
  • 4also windstreated as singular or plural Wind instruments, or specifically woodwind instruments, forming a band or a section of an orchestra.

    ‘these passages are most suitable for wind alone’
    • ‘wind players’
    • ‘A platform is rigged toward the back of the stage rising over the winds and brass sections for the vocalists.’
    • ‘However, despite a balance that favors the orchestral winds, the sound is not bad at all.’
    • ‘A jug band is essentially a string band with a wind section - harmonica, kazoos, and the jug, of course.’
    • ‘The BPO are clearly enjoying themselves with some players losing strings and the winds thoroughly in harmony.’
    • ‘The two concertos feature wind players from Beecham's Royal Philharmonic.’
    • ‘The string players grinned, but the wind section simply fell apart.’
    • ‘Ensembles of three to six players of string, wind or mixed instruments are included.’
    • ‘Charles Gounod's Petite symphonie is scored for flute and eight winds.’
    • ‘Aside from some frayed wind intonation, the orchestra played with rich, sonorous beauty.’
    • ‘For those interested in band or wind music, this set is essential; for others this is at least very intriguing.’
    • ‘The term is also used of a number of other large ensembles including dance orchestras, jazz orchestras, and wind orchestras.’
    • ‘However, we also are eager to add intermediate-level chamber music for any combination of strings, winds or voice without piano.’
    • ‘Written for wind orchestra and soloist, this is less a partnership of equals than of antagonists, with much brittleness in the music.’
    • ‘These pieces will provide a fun, challenging ensemble experience for any music class - vocal, piano, strings or winds.’
    • ‘Holst had written at least two earlier chamber works featuring winds, but these represent his first mature productions.’
    • ‘Nothing, until the fugal entries of the main theme in the winds, really takes off.’
    • ‘There are no cellos, a disproportionately large number of double-basses, and big brass and wind sections but no oboes and bassoons.’
    • ‘More often than not, while the strings and winds benefit, the piano sounds as if it were bellowing forth from far away and under water.’
    • ‘A violinist himself, he got wonderful sounds from his strings, and he made sure that the winds and brass of the Philadelphia were as good as any.’
    • ‘The movement builds to two main climaxes, introduced by two fugal passages - the first led by strings, the second by winds.’
    wind instruments.
    View synonyms





[with object]
  • 1Cause (someone) to have difficulty breathing because of exertion or a blow to the stomach.

    ‘the fall nearly winded him’
    • ‘She dodged his extremely slow blows and sank her fist into his stomach, winding him.’
    • ‘And then Sean punched him in the stomach, winding him completely.’
    • ‘Chris quickly kicked me hard in the stomach, winding me badly.’
    • ‘Emilia did not want to hear that, and she kicked Tom in the stomach, winding him.’
    • ‘He feinted and I took the bait as he kicked me hard in the stomach, winding me yet again.’
    • ‘Donna winced in pain, and spinning round, kicked out at Mark's stomach, momentarily winding him.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, his partner grabbed the boy and punched him in the stomach, winding him.’
    • ‘I was about to throw a punch to the boy's stomach to wind him, when I suddenly felt it myself.’
    • ‘All dignity gone, all control gone, because you are winded and gasping for breath.’
    • ‘At the end of the reel I was winded and tired, breathlessly cheering and clapping with the rest of the people.’
    • ‘Mr Wilkinson then felt a second blow in his ribs which winded him.’
    • ‘Pain shot through her stomach as someone kicked her, winding her.’
    • ‘Instead of hitting the man's chest, Carl winded him again by hitting him in the stomach.’
    • ‘For a few minutes I am too winded to notice anything.’
    • ‘Happily she was winded rather than wounded and suffered no more than bruising.’
    • ‘All three were somewhat winded from their exertions.’
    • ‘He somehow managed to stay standing despite being winded by the blow.’
    • ‘We did take the dogs for a short walk yesterday and I was winded after 1/2 a mile. It was disappointing, but it was nice to get outside.’
    • ‘One man barged in between me and Jim, knocking us apart and winding me.’
    • ‘I was hoping to slow it down a bit but I wasn't thinking straight because I was just winded from all the activity.’
    out of breath, breathless, gasping for breath, panting, puffing, huffing and puffing, puffing and blowing
    View synonyms
  • 2British Make (a baby) bring up wind after feeding by patting its back.

    ‘Paddy's wife handed him their six-month-old daughter to be winded’
    • ‘Wendy had to show her how to feed, wind and bath the baby and left him alone with her only if she went shopping.’
  • 3Detect the presence of (a person or animal) by scent.

    • ‘the birds could not have seen us or winded us’
  • past participle verb winded, past participle verb wound/waʊnd/

    4 literary Sound (a bugle or call) by blowing.

    • ‘but scarce again his horn he wound’





    before the wind
    • With the wind blowing from astern.

      ‘a white-hulled yacht ran before the wind’
      • ‘The wind blew from the north and the ship ran swiftly before the wind.’
      • ‘Wind shrieked through the rigging as the mast groaned under the strain of its huge triangular sail that drove the vessel before the wind, its rigging taught as harp strings.’
      • ‘Several days out, however, a storm arose and the vessel was driven before the wind in a constant southerly direction, headed toward the South Pole.’
      • ‘Sails were down and it was running under bare poles before the wind.’
      • ‘On the water, however, sailing close-hauled may feel faster, primarily because the boat is heeling over, but you move more quickly in the upright position, running before the wind.’
    get wind of
    • Begin to suspect that (something) is happening; hear a rumour of.

      • ‘Mortimer got wind of a plot being hatched’
      • ‘We can't say anything yet, otherwise the suspects will get wind of what we're doing.’
      • ‘The only fall-out of this episode was that the management, also having got wind of the rumour, quickly embedded the canvas in an ugly plastic case.’
      • ‘Jane was the best person to confide in but I knew once she got wind of what happened on New Year's Eve she'd be scheming again.’
      • ‘When I got wind of what happened, I quit my job and drove the 900 miles from New Orleans to Key West in one go.’
      • ‘The extras got wind of what was going on, and they started to revolt.’
      • ‘He shows up at pretty much any event his office gets wind of.’
      • ‘The warring factions got wind of what he was going to do.’
      • ‘It would be risky; if he got wind of what she was up to, that would be it for her.’
      • ‘A lot of people don't advertise it - it's not something you want teachers and people to get wind of.’
      • ‘I just happened to get wind of this discussion while surfing the Web.’


      Referring originally to the scent of game in hunting.

    have the wind up
    British informal
    • Be alarmed or frightened.

      • ‘Spending ten minutes putting the wind up pregnant women about epidurals doesn't help things, especially when she admitted that 50% of women at the hospital end up having one.’
      • ‘The section of the speech on crime should have put the wind up anyone with even the smallest affection for civil liberties, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.’
      • ‘But his chances of election have put the wind up the US Congress.’
      • ‘The company, which was a novice to the home loan business only a year ago, has put the wind up traditional lenders with the success of its simple and flexible loan.’
      • ‘Focused on fast ships capable of 31 knots, this has put the wind up rivals, few of which have the resources to match this kind of investment.’
      • ‘Young, thrusting and ambitious, the partnership had put the wind up some of the crustier firms of Scottish beancounters.’
      • ‘I reckon he's trying to put the wind up the competition from the off.’
      • ‘Others, presumably to put the wind up a middle-class academic, exaggerated their crimes.’
      • ‘A kestrel wheeled over the larches and put the wind up the wood pigeons.’
      • ‘I won't give the game away here, but it's nothing to put the wind up your maiden aunt.’
    it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good
    • Few things are so bad that no one profits from them.

      ‘Who says it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good?’
      • ‘And yet, it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.’
      • ‘Maybe we'll just wait for the catastrophe and anyway, it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.’
      • ‘Mr Sharp's view of matters, that summer, must have been that it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good!’
      • ‘So it seems to be true that it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.’
      • ‘Not surprisingly many of the subjects of these experiments ended up mad as hatters but they did provide useful samples for us, so it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.’
      • ‘But it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good, as they say, and I've discovered an excellent replacement taxi service.’
      • ‘Showing that it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good, the philosophically horrible movie version of the book has dragged me off my butt and gotten me to reread The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.’
    like the wind
    • Very quickly.

      ‘she ran like the wind back to the house’
      • ‘Jo had the talent, and could run like the wind.’
      • ‘Just over 40 years ago, at a students' sports meet on a lovely summer day, he ran like the wind, and shone like a star.’
      • ‘Mind you, I'm aiming to run like the wind to get to that finishing post first.’
      • ‘Sun spiders are also know as windspiders and windscorpions so called because they can run like the wind.’
      • ‘For some reason I still felt a need to salvage some dignity, so I ran like the wind.’
      • ‘He runs like the wind and has the moral outrage of a man who believes it is his duty to save the world.’
      • ‘This is all that is left of the glory days, when she ran like the wind all over the world.’
      • ‘He moved like the wind, launching a full-out attack.’
      • ‘And then something clicked in my brain and I began to run like the wind.’
      • ‘Take the best horse from my stable and ride like the wind.’
    off the wind
    • With the wind on the quarter.

      ‘Her performance off the wind is very good, and the full keel and centerboard make the boat easy to balance and comfortable to sail on beam and broad reaches.’
      • ‘We sail with the main sail and a jib sail, about 135 degrees off the wind.’
      • ‘I'll describe the touch-and-go struggle to keep the boat pointed just enough off the wind to maintain headway, and the jackhammer pounding of a madly luffing mainsail trying to spill a 75-knot gale.’
      • ‘The age-old side rudder also gave place to the stern-post rudder aligned on the keel, facilitating steering a few points off the wind.’
    on a wind
    • Against a wind on either bow.

    put the wind up
    British informal
    • Alarm or frighten.

      • ‘Frank was trying to put the wind up him so that he would be too agitated to think clearly’
    sail close to the wind
    • 1Sailing
      Sail as nearly against the wind as is consistent with using its force.

    • 2 informal Verge on indecency, dishonesty, or disaster.

      • ‘People were invited and encouraged to sail close to the winds of slander as the show and the presenter sought out audience share.’
      • ‘Some of the singing was a little weak and difficult to hear in parts and there were perhaps a few too many gags, one in particular sailing a little close to the wind.’
    take the wind out of someone's sails
    • Frustrate someone by unexpectedly anticipating an action or remark.

      ‘This tiny bit of information took the wind out of my sails.’
      • ‘I heard something today which really took the wind out of my sails.’
      • ‘He knew, too, that the move would take the wind out of the opposition's sails.’
      • ‘I think that completely took the wind out of their sails.’
      • ‘I read this right before entering college and it took the wind out of my sails.’
      • ‘Maybe he spotted the wedding ring on my finger and that took the wind out of his sails, so he decided to tease me instead.’
      • ‘Whatever denial she was about to say make died as that little comment took the wind out of her sails.’
      • ‘Layoffs, breakups, accidents - any number of life events can take the wind out of your sails.’
      • ‘I have to admit that new tack of his took the wind out of my sails a bit.’
      • ‘The only thing that managed to take the wind out of my sails was when he asked me to divide it equally amongst the children.’
    to the wind
    • 1In all directions.

      ‘my little flock scatters to the four winds’
      • ‘When they have finished their final reports on their internships, the four women are planning to scatter to the four winds.’
      • ‘All our children are being split up and scattered to the four winds.’
      • ‘I slammed on the brakes and this group of youths, which included girls, just scattered to the four winds.’
      • ‘Now with many of my friends scattered to the four winds and unaccounted for, I think I've come closer than I ever wanted.’
      • ‘Families had been scattered to the four winds and the ramifications of that legacy of broken lineages and uncertain pasts is still felt today, an open wound in history.’
      • ‘That's what happens to exiles; they are scattered to the four winds and then find it extremely difficult to get back together again.’
      • ‘The town's 500,000 inhabitants have scattered to the four winds.’
      • ‘The view was that it was no loss if they were scattered to the four winds where they could no longer cause as much trouble any more.’
      • ‘However, the rest of our family was scattered to the four winds, so a visit was always a major trek.’
      • ‘No sooner does a season end than players begin scattering to the four winds.’
      1. 1.1So as to be abandoned or neglected.
        ‘I threw my friends' advice to the winds’
        • ‘Yet when the temperatures go through the roof at home we tend to throw caution to the wind and abandon ourselves to the damaging rays.’
        • ‘Here's a flick that throws all caution to the wind and winds up being truly a unique moviegoing experience.’
        • ‘One day many years ago, some friends of mine and I threw caution to the wind and attended a secret, forbidden event.’
        • ‘Westernizing young Japanese, in contrast, are starting to throw cultural restraint to the winds and eat whatever whenever they're hungry, even if it's on the street, the train, wherever.’
        • ‘In this utterly confused scenario where both science and policy have been thrown to the winds, there are those who are arguing that the farmers might as well enjoy a few good harvests, even if the crops were to fail later.’
        • ‘Though there are laws to ensure that every industry should have its own recycling plant and that effluents should not be dumped into water bodies, the rule is often thrown to the winds by many industries.’
        • ‘But the food had been so good thus far that I was persuaded that even this dreaded dessert would be a winner - and how glad I am that I threw my prejudices to the winds.’
        • ‘Another couple shared the cab with us, all of us casting our New York-trained suspiciousness of strangers to the winds.’
        • ‘We were alone in the room and I threw schoolhouse etiquette to the winds and used his first name.’
        • ‘So why not throw caution to the wind and call an early vote?’
    which way the wind is blowing
    • How the current situation is likely to develop.

      ‘those politicians know which way the wind is blowing amongst their voters’
      • ‘All three parties try to gauge which way the wind is blowing.’
      • ‘Unions know which way the wind is blowing, and while they remain opposed to a break-up, they realise that structural change is on the way.’
      • ‘During this dark time for video games, only one company seems to have noticed which way the wind is blowing.’
      • ‘Such a swing of opinion reflects the people's tendency to change tack depending on which way the wind is blowing.’
      • ‘The wealthy elites who make up the governing class can see which way the wind is blowing.’
    wind of change
    • An influence or tendency that cannot be resisted.

      ‘the winds of change are blowing through agriculture’
      • ‘However, thanks to the winds of change that swept Eastern Europe and Africa in the early 1990s, democracies are emerging, giving hope to a continent that has suffered for so long.’
      • ‘The Soviet Union had imploded, the Berlin Wall had come tumbling down, and Africans were not indifferent to these winds of change.’
      • ‘Then came the nineties; the doors of the economy were thrown open to winds of change from the global scene.’
      • ‘We'll go back in time to see what's driving the winds of change across the continent.’
      • ‘Time has pulled back the veil and what we see is an ego, full of himself, floundering in the winds of change.’
      • ‘Moreover, it comes at a time when science itself is being battered by the winds of change.’
      • ‘The wind of change also blew through French Africa, and under President Charles de Gaulle, France withdrew from empire, while attempting to preserve its influence by means of the French Union and later the French Community.’
      • ‘The 32 year-old said he has been deeply affected by the wind of change that has swept through the national team - both on and off the pitch.’
      • ‘But the end of rationing and other wartime restrictions and a shortage in the labour market led to a wind of change in gender politics.’
      • ‘The winds of change blowing through Cairo could sweep away quite a few regimes in the region.’


      Popularized by Harold Macmillan's use of the phrase in a 1960 speech.


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wind and German Wind, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin ventus.

Main meanings of wind in English

: wind1wind2


Pronunciation /wʌɪnd/

See synonyms for wind

Translate wind into Spanish


  • 1no object, with adverbial of direction Move in or take a twisting or spiral course.

    ‘the path wound among olive trees’
    • ‘They then approach along a path that winds among lush landscaping, keeping the porch's clean, strong lines always in sight.’
    • ‘The garden itself was just a path that wound among clusters of aspen trees along the flank of a grassy foothill.’
    • ‘The path was endless, constantly winding downward in a spiral.’
    • ‘Off the beaten path on the southern tip of Jersey, this course winds through an arboretum and 50-acre bird sanctuary.’
    • ‘A path winds through the gardens to fairy-tale-style cottages, each with its own veranda and swing.’
    • ‘The path winds through a legion of eerie stone figures, some towering 100 feet above.’
    • ‘I stroll up the narrow path that winds around the small hills to the school.’
    • ‘Ten miles of bike paths wind through the property and link up with a more extensive regional trail network.’
    • ‘It's divided into three sections with a path winding all the way through.’
    • ‘The ground sloped down to a stream winding between alders and willows, where children play on summer evenings, enjoying the sort of idyllic childhood we would all want for our offspring.’
    • ‘The road to her home winds past streams of raw sewage.’
    • ‘The path thinned out now as it wound past the private beach of a local five star hotel.’
    • ‘Paths made from mosaic pebbles and broken paving stones will wind through forest glades, leading the visitor to secret places and moonlit grottoes.’
    • ‘Time seemed to pass slowly as they wound their way from the base to Santa Barbara.’
    • ‘This narrow route carved into the side of the mountains winds its way through Logan's Pass and across the Continental Divide.’
    • ‘At the end of the first day's hike, we wound our way down a dirt road to an open clearing where the evening sun shone golden on the fronts of old decaying buildings around a large grassy field.’
    • ‘As I wound my way down a little path, with jewellery and clothing shops on either side, I spotted a tiny little shop that made me look twice.’
    • ‘In the cradle of the Rocky Mountains, sprawled out like a giant picnic over the foothills, Calgary has the beautiful Bow River winding through its core.’
    • ‘The Lincoln Boyhood Nature Trail is a circular trail, approximately one mile in length, which winds through a natural reforested area.’
    • ‘Little tarmac roads wound between the trees and little front and rear gardens were packed with small bushes that gave each property a feeling of seclusion.’
    twist and turn, twist, turn, bend, curve, loop, zigzag, weave, snake, meander, ramble
    View synonyms
  • 2with object and adverbial Pass (something) round a thing or person so as to encircle or enfold.

    ‘he wound a towel around his midriff’
    • ‘A blue mohair scarf was wound tightly round her neck, almost covering her face, and she pulled it away to speak.’
    • ‘Cattle, we found, like the grass long, so that they can wind it round their tongues.’
    • ‘Mr Wells had hooked a large flatfish which he thought was a skate, but it turned out to be a stingray and it wound its tail round his arm and stuck a four-inch spike into him.’
    • ‘The accordion player played for the children as they wound their colourful ribbons round the maypole.’
    • ‘Coloured tape is wound round the fingers of his left hand.’
    • ‘I picked up a strand of his long brown hair, and wound it round my finger.’
    • ‘Erin was quiet for a long minute, winding the blanket round her fingers.’
    • ‘I tear off a long strip and wind it round Leo's wounded shoulder.’
    • ‘Laura, my guide for the day, pulls down the scarf that's wound round her face, and leans into my ear.’
    • ‘So I put on my hat and Ems wound her scarf around her head and we went back out into the rain and east along the river until we found a pub where we stopped for a disappointing lunch.’
    • ‘The little dog was found with a cord tightly wound around its neck.’
    • ‘She wound her long blue wool scarf around her throat and wheeled herself into the night.’
    • ‘To hide my bare shoulders, I wound a light blue cotton cape around my neck, securing it with a bow.’
    • ‘He was bound to a stretcher with heavy duct tape, which was wound around his chest, upper arms, shoulders, ankles and the stretcher itself.’
    • ‘She saw he always wore the same pair of worn sneakers - ones with duct tape wound about them, to keep the soles in place.’
    • ‘Then there are long strands of beads and weird exotic flowers in deep colours to wind around trees, banisters, mantelpieces and even table napkins.’
    wrap, furl, fold
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Repeatedly twist or coil (a length of something) round itself or a core.
      ‘Anne wound the wool into a ball’
      • ‘These devices are usually quite large; assembled from coils wound onto magnetic cores.’
      • ‘I even wound a 10-foot length of parachute cord around my hiking staff.’
      • ‘I also wound the two long power cables around the length of the printer cable and secured them with a fair number cable ties.’
      • ‘I watched my grandma pull the fur, twist it around the spool and wind it into a ball.’
      • ‘At China's Hang Zhou Silk Factory, the yarn is reeled, graded, color coded by a temporary dye, twisted, washed and wound into skeins.’
      • ‘The woven threads were wound on a device called a Niddy Noddy or more simply a yarn winder.’
      • ‘The cable includes armor wires wound around the corrugated-wall tube.’
      • ‘The ingenuity of the contraption was that a string was wound around the alarm winder and the other end tied to the bolt.’
      • ‘A helical scan tape will gradually be wound around a rotating drum causing dust to be dragged in between the tape and the head.’
      • ‘Most films ran ten minutes or less, reflecting the amount of film that could be wound on a standard reel.’
      • ‘In the earliest days, the photographer had to wind 35 mm film into reusable cartridges himself, and cut the film leader.’
      • ‘The patented delay line detector features three pairs of low resistance wires wound around a hexagonal support.’
      • ‘The wire can be wound around the axis of the disc to reinforce the initial field.’
      • ‘The hair was wound on small rods and the perms were very firm and curly.’
      • ‘Silk is spooled off large reels along the top and two, four or six strands are wound together onto spindles at the bottom, making a stronger yarn.’
      • ‘Also on display on the cart are accessories once familiar to thousands of East Lancashire weavers - shuttles on which weft yarn was wound.’
      • ‘There was a lot of business of selecting a kite from the stack, attaching the string, making sure the string was correctly wound on the big wooden spools.’
      • ‘Pull out a foot or two of thread and wind it immediately around one iron hook and hang the hook again into the final row of woven cloth.’
      • ‘When the required number of strands are wound on, finish the thread by winding it around and down the finish post.’
      • ‘Once this is dry, fine threads of beeswax are tightly wound around it.’
      coil, roll, twist, twine
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2no object, with adverbial Be twisted or coiled.
      ‘large vines wound round every tree’
      • ‘Pale vines wound over what looked to be emerald-green alabaster.’
      • ‘The gradual twist of the body may be likened to certain movements in nature, such as that of a vine winding around a tree.’
      • ‘They lived in open-air houses that wound around trees.’
    3. 2.3Wrap or surround (a core) with a coiled length of something.
      • ‘devices wound with copper wire’
  • 3with object Make (a clock or other device, typically one operated by clockwork) operate by turning a key or handle.

    ‘he wound City Hall's clock every day until he retired at the age of 92’
    • ‘she was winding the gramophone’
    • ‘It turned easily, making clicking noises like an alarm clock being wound.’
    • ‘The original watchmaker himself used to wind the clock every Friday after Juma prayers at 2 p.m.’
    • ‘Still, as I wound the clock, I felt that it was more than mere decoration.’
    • ‘He had already wound the clock and set it for midnight, and he got the mousetrap set on the first try.’
    • ‘We are introduced to him as he winds the clock in the great house, thus ensuring the smooth continuation of the linear, regular measure of historical time.’
    • ‘They had preached about winding the clock before executing emergency procedures.’
    • ‘A man who is taken into servitude to wind the kingdom's clocks, concocts a scheme in which the clocks slowly but imperceptibly run down.’
    • ‘I took one last fortifying breath, then turned the Keystone as though I were winding a clock.’
    • ‘I was hurriedly winding our grandfather clock when, in my carelessness, the pendulum disconnected.’
    • ‘When the weights reach the floor the clock has to be wound, hoisting the weights back up.’
    • ‘On the one day when she forgot to wind the clock, or wasn't able to, and it stopped, her grandfather died.’
    • ‘It may be an ancient pendulum clock, whose sinking weight, after it has been wound, will supply the energy.’
    • ‘An automatic winding system will be installed as the clock presently has to be wound every three days by hand.’
    • ‘He told his granddaughter that she had to wind his grandfather clock every day without fail, but he wouldn't give her a reason.’
    • ‘Regularly, I was wound, polished and looked at but never moved except from one silk pocket to another.’
    • ‘It was wound solemnly each Sunday morning, checked against the BBC time signal, adjusted, and the glass cover snapped gently back for another week.’
    1. 3.1Turn (a key or handle) repeatedly round and round.
      ‘I wound the handle as fast as I could’
      • ‘If you wind the key enough, he'll go.’
      • ‘You make a sandwich of the printing plate and the paper and some sort of pad on top of the paper, put it in the press and wind a handle to screw down the top plate of the press.’
      • ‘This photo shows the flip out handle, which once wound for thirty seconds, produces full room sound for thirty minutes.’
    2. 3.2with object and adverbial of direction Cause (an audio or video tape or a film) to move back or forwards to a desired point.
      ‘I forgot how to wind the film on’
      • ‘The near the end there's a sound like a tape being wound back and we get the alternate version - same aquatic feel, but light and airy as well.’
      • ‘Get another and then close the shutter, which winds on the film to the next position.’
      • ‘I may want to wind back the cassette to replay a section.’
    3. 3.3with object and adverbial of direction Hoist or draw (something) with a windlass, winch, or similar device.
      • ‘This is the compartment located in the fo'c's'le below and behind the anchor winch, into which the anchor chains are wound.’


  • 1A twist or turn in a course.

    • ‘After a few minutes of puzzled winds and twists and turns and curses muttered under my breath, I come upon the bed.’
  • 2A single turn made when winding.

Phrasal Verbs

    wind down
    • 1Draw gradually to a close.

      ‘as the party wound down, the couple hopped in their rented car and headed back to the hotel’
      • ‘business began to wind down as people awaited the new regime’
      • ‘If a buyer cannot be found, the company will be wound down and closed.’
      • ‘Workers at the centre at the Cork Airport Business Park were told that the plant would be wound down over the next three months.’
      • ‘The weaker he became, the more urgently he focused on winding the business down.’
      • ‘The evening ends with a downbeat number, an odd choice for an encore, but it winds things down nicely enough.’
      • ‘But so powerful did they prove themselves as wealth generators that investors in them soon abandoned any pretence of willfully winding them down.’
      • ‘Despite the regular practice of winding operations down in the early part of the year, some of the costs of the business, such as its warehouse, were ongoing.’
      • ‘Roy and a handful of others stayed for a further 15 months to wind the factories down for good.’
      • ‘For our Oxford project, we are running six-weeks of follow-up work which will wind the project down and then we'll start working on new material.’
      • ‘The sympathetic nervous system pumps the body up, but when you take a deep breath the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in and starts to wind the system down.’
      • ‘We still haven't a clue whether we are going to be sold, wound down or kicked out.’
      1. 1.1wind something down, wind down somethingBring something gradually to a close.
        ‘in the second half of the 1990s, he wound down his career’
        • ‘a spokeswoman denied industry speculation that the investigations were being wound down’
    • 2(of a person) relax after stress or excitement.

      ‘I sank into a hot bath in order to wind down’
      • ‘Palm Beach is a place to relax, wind down and live elegantly, and if you want more, remember, Miami Beach is just a short gorgeous, scenic drive down the highway.’
      • ‘Tired runners and walkers can relax and wind down at the celebration where they can enjoy music, entertainment and light refreshments.’
      • ‘So, now that I've taken a cool shower, I intend to relax and wind down.’
      • ‘The couple, who now live in Bolton, will celebrate retirement with a holiday in Tenerife where they plan to wind down and relax.’
      • ‘A bath helps you wind down, reduces the stress of the day and helps you sleep much more soundly.’
      • ‘Where I used to listen to shouty music and stomp around the flat, these days I'm more partial to something chilled which helps me wind down.’
      • ‘The Education Minister said the students deserved a chance to wind down after such a stressful period.’
      • ‘She has confessed she likes nothing more to wind down from her showbiz lifestyle by chilling out with her grandmother.’
      • ‘Complementary approaches include aromatherapy and reflexology and these may, if nothing else, provide a quiet, relaxed environment in which to wind down.’
      • ‘Try listening to relaxing music an hour before bedtime to help you wind down or even fall asleep.’
    • 3(of a mechanism, especially one operated by clockwork) gradually lose power.

      ‘The quality is fine for TV broadcast and animation motors give us more accuracy from one frame to the next, because the shutter speed alters slightly as the spring winds down in the clockwork motor.’
      • ‘Turbine generators here wind down, the emergency system to protect the nuclear reactors from overload kicks in, and the propeller shaft stops.’
      • ‘The left engine normally wound down and wind-milled, while continuing to power the left side hydraulics.’
      • ‘Once that timer winds down to zero, the game ends.’
      • ‘It wasn't long before the machine started to wind down and stop.’
    wind up
    • 1wind something up, wind up somethingMake a clock or other device operate by turning a handle or key.

      • ‘he wound up the clock every Saturday night’
      1. 1.1Increase the tension, intensity, or power of something.
        ‘he wound up the engine’
        • ‘Luckily the road was fairly empty and I slammed up the gearbox winding the car up to an eyewatering 105 mph.’
        • ‘Brakes off, cranks churning, I wind it up and let it go.’
        • ‘On the highway it winds it up to about forty-five, at which point the engine and drive train are seemingly screaming the distorted symphonics of an ear-splitting concerto.’
        • ‘The thing was so underpowered that you needed three miles to wind it up before you even think about passing!’
        • ‘Like all their engines, though, this one loves to be run out to the limit, so, if you close your ears and wind it up to the 7,000 rpm ignition cut-out, it will perform much better.’
    • 2wind something up, wind up somethingBritish Arrange the affairs of and dissolve a company.

      ‘the company has since been wound up’
      • ‘If the liquidator receives this amount at sale, then, based on the company's statement of affairs when it was wound up, the company could be left in a break-even situation.’
      • ‘As a result, insolvent companies are not wound up but sit idle, usually heavily in debt, until they are struck off the register.’
      • ‘Having taken all steps, active or passive, required to terminate the activities of the club, short of passing a formal resolution to wind it up or dissolve it, the general meeting of the club resolved to sell the club's last asset.’
      • ‘After the death of the estate owner and before the estate is wound up, the trust can provide a source of funds for the maintenance and other needs of dependants.’
      • ‘The business has to be operational for 12 weeks after which the learners are asked to wind it up.’
      • ‘In those proceedings an order was made that both would be required to sign business cheques until the business was wound up, and the business financial arrangements either litigated to resolution or sorted out between the parties.’
      • ‘Under the current rules, pensioners are ranked ahead of current workers when company schemes are wound up.’
      • ‘Eventually the partnership was wound up and a dispute arose as to what should happen to the property that the parties co-owned for their business purposes.’
      • ‘When the company was wound up the contract was cancelled.’
      • ‘The authority itself is due to be wound up at the end of this month.’
      1. 2.1Gradually or finally bring an activity to a conclusion.
        • ‘the experiments had to be wound up because the funding stopped’
      2. 2.2wind upGradually or finally come to a conclusion.
        • ‘a reporter shouted as the press conference was winding up’
    • 3 informal Arrive or end up in a specified state, situation, or place.

      • ‘she wound up in hospital with pneumonia’
      • ‘he wound up serving two weeks in jail after violating probation’
      • ‘And, if you don't want to wind up in that situation, you need to pack heat and be prepared to resist at the point of abduction.’
      • ‘We all wind up in your situation sooner or later, and I agree - it's tough.’
      • ‘Shaking his head in disbelief, he wondered how he'd come to wind up in this situation to begin with.’
      • ‘If you were in either, you were probably going to wind up dead.’
      • ‘He wound up in the hospital, suffering from alcoholism and depression.’
      • ‘To the family's relief, he finally left home and the marriage, and wound up in a psychiatric hospital.’
      • ‘The first-time visitor to Yorkshire could be forgiven for thinking he had wound up in a land of madmen.’
      • ‘Bayer winds up finishing third, 27 minutes behind the winner.’
      • ‘When Jane's psychosis got especially scary, she wound up in a hospital casualty ward, where she was sent home with some sleeping pills.’
      • ‘It will probably wind up being better than it has any right to be.’
    • 4wind someone up, wind up someone informal Make someone tense or angry.

      • ‘he was clearly wound up and frantic about his daughter’
      1. 4.1British informal Tease or irritate someone.
        • ‘she's only winding me up’
        • ‘He teased me and wound me up, without mercy, all day, for my grumpiness.’
        • ‘She was winding me up, teasing me, and I knew it but the pain was still too fresh and the anger wasn't far from the surface and it took everything I had to keep quiet.’
        • ‘In itself this can be a little irritating if you're trying to wind someone up.’
        • ‘Then again, his fresh-faced good looks and confident agreeability might only wind them up more.’
        • ‘I admit I respect his body of work but every now and then I'll send him an e-mail just to wind him up.’
        • ‘Derek winds me up that I have a wee boy who is English because he was born in Carlisle but I get him back because his wee girl was born in Edinburgh.’
        • ‘They wound me up about the result, we had a few drinks and we shared some laughs.’
        • ‘Asked if he believed teams would try to wind him up to provoke a response, he admitted: ‘Yes, probably, but I'm an experienced player now and I want to prove that.’’
        • ‘She was trying to wind me up and I just snapped.’
        • ‘The players were shouting at us and trying to wind us up about the result.’
    • 5Prepare to throw or punch something with great force.

      • ‘she wound up and hit him hard’
      1. 5.1Baseball (of a pitcher) use the windup delivery.


Old English windan ‘go rapidly’, ‘twine’, of Germanic origin; related to wander and wend.