Definition of gale in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɡeɪl/


1A very strong wind: I slept well despite the howling gales outside it was blowing a gale [as modifier]: gale-force winds battered the North Sea coast
More example sentences
  • Along the southern coastline, many large swells are generated well south of the continent by strong westerly gales that can blow unimpeded for thousands of kilometres.
  • The weather was, overall, a mixed batch, varying from bright (chilly perhaps) sunshine, to snow, to strong winds and gales.
  • Strong gales of wind had begun to blow through the valley.
storm, tempest, squall, hurricane, tornado, cyclone, typhoon, whirlwind, superstorm;
strong wind, high wind;
North American  windstorm
informal burster, buster
literary flaw
1.1 (also fresh gale) (On the Beaufort scale) a wind of force 8 (34-40 knots or 63-74 km/h).
Example sentences
  • In November 2000 they set off for a five-day training run and found themselves crewing the boat into the teeth of a force eight south-westerly gale.
  • Mind you, as long as you can stop them blowing away, you could enjoy these chips in anything from a refreshing sea breeze to a force-9 gale.
  • It was a force nine gale, a tad below a hurricane, and Rogue Wave was in a grand and powerful waltz.
1.2A storm at sea.
Example sentences
  • They are winds that put the mind in tumult, sweeping us along like ships in a gale, and as storms disturb the harmony of nature, passions are discordant and jangling.
  • Fleeing with other demoralized shreds of the Spanish Armada, the galley had sailed up the eastern coast of England, driven on ahead of the English fleet by gales and storms.
  • After main summer leave, the ship - which was damaged by a ferry during gales last autumn in Portsmouth Harbour - will be preparing for her first major deployment, which begins late this year.
2 (a gale of/gales of) An outburst of laughter: she collapsed into gales of laughter
More example sentences
  • Youth shouts with a laugh, and again, the band collapses in gales of laughter.
  • I blink in surprise and Sam and Ben burst into gales of laughter.
  • By the time Fox was done speaking, the giggles had erupted into gales of laughter.
outburst, burst, eruption, explosion, effusion, attack, fit, paroxysm;
peal, howl, hoot, shriek, scream, shout, roar


Mid 16th century: perhaps related to Old Norse galinn 'mad, frantic'.

Words that rhyme with gale

ail, ale, assail, avail, bail, bale, bewail, brail, Braille, chain mail, countervail, curtail, dale, downscale, drail, dwale, entail, exhale, fail, faille, flail, frail, Gael, Gail, Grail, grisaille, hail, hale, impale, jail, kale, mail, male, webmail, nonpareil, outsail, pail, pale, quail, rail, sail, sale, sangrail, scale, shale, snail, stale, swale, tail, tale, they'll, trail, upscale, vail, vale, veil, surveil, wail, wale, whale, Yale

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