AskDefine | Define williwaw

The Collaborative Dictionary

Williwaw \Wil"li*waw\, Willywaw \Wil"ly*waw\, n. (Naut.) A whirlwind, or whirlwind squall, encountered in the Straits of Magellan. --W. C. Russell. [1913 Webster]






See also

In meteorology, a williwaw is a sudden blast of wind descending from a mountainous coast to the sea. The word is of unknown origin, but was earliest used by British seamen in the 19th century. The usage appears for winds found in the Strait of Magellan, the Aleutian Islands and the coastal fiords of the Alaskan Panhandle, where the terms outflow wind and squamish wind are also used for the same phenomenon.
The williwaw results from the descent of cold, dense air from the snow and ice fields of coastal mountains in high latitudes, accelerated by the force of gravity. Thus the williwaw is considered a type of katabatic wind.
Gore Vidal's first novel, Williwaw, based on a ship in the Aleutian Islands, features the williwaw.


  1. Winds of the World: The Williwaw, from Weather Online

See also

williwaw in French: williwaw
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