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winter Line breaks: win¦ter
Pronunciation: /ˈwɪntə/

Definition of winter in English:


1The coldest season of the year, in the northern hemisphere from December to February and in the southern hemisphere from June to August: the tree has a good crop of berries in winter [as modifier]: the winter months
More example sentences
  • The climate here is normally split into two seasons, long cold winters and long hot summers.
  • Therefore, short, cool growing seasons and cold winters are often thought of as barriers to crop growth and diversification in the Subarctic.
  • But after a cold winter in the southern uplands you may recognise that ending up on a human dinner plate is not so bad.
1.1 Astronomy The period from the winter solstice to the vernal equinox.
Example sentences
  • Similarly the winters in the north are shorter and milder than they would be otherwise.
  • Spirit and Opportunity have also roved through the worst of the Martian winter with flying colors, and spring is on the horizon.
  • Saturnalia celebrated the rebirth of Saturn, the god of the harvest, and the dawn of the new year from the winter's darkness.
1.2 (winters) literary Years: he seemed a hundred winters old
More example sentences
  • Find those things and nourish them through the summers and winters of this lifetime.
  • Newman's innings was the first time this summer he had managed to convert a solid start into a significant score and showed many of the skills that earned him Academy recognition two winters ago.
  • But before she ended her career she spent two winters, from 1965 to 1967, chartered to operate between Los Angeles and Acapulco for Princess Cruises.


[attributive] Back to top  
1(Of fruit) ripening late in the year: a winter apple
More example sentences
  • No purist, he happily uses olive oil in a Thai-style curry paste, chops cress on to avocados and serves pomegranate, a winter fruit, at a summer party.
  • The others went for the escallops of pork served on a bed of butternut squash purée with wild mushroom brandy sauce and a winter fruit chutney.
  • Several lines of evidence suggest winter fruit may be important to less frugivorous species as well.
1.1(Of wheat or other crops) sown in autumn for harvesting the following year.
Example sentences
  • The greatest risk is in fields where a winter cereal cover crop has been used.
  • The study is researching the practice of planting soybeans into cover crops of winter rye.
  • In this situation, we plant the hay seed into a nurse crop of winter wheat or spring oats.


[no object, with adverbial of place] Back to top  
1(Especially of a bird) spend the winter in a particular place: birds wintering in the Channel Islands
More example sentences
  • Like many of the Arctic refuge's birds, snow geese winter in warmer parts of the lower 48 states.
  • The birds wintering in Washington breed in the northern Great Plains, usually beginning by late April.
  • These routes used by migratory birds for passage between wintering and breeding ranges are called flyways.
1.1 [with object] Keep or feed (plants or cattle) during winter.
Example sentences
  • Store cattle being wintered with a view to finishing off grass next summer will require 2-3 kg meal/day with poor quality silage.
  • There are no slatted sheds allowed in Scotland so wintering cattle can be pretty labour intensive.
  • We never wintered cattle there because of its remoteness and lack of shelter.


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch winter and German Winter, probably also to wet.

  • The word winter is probably related to wet ( see water), with the basic idea being ‘the wet season’. Richard III: ‘Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this sun of York’ gave us The winter of discontent of 1978–79 in Britain, when widespread strikes forced the Labour government out of power.



Example sentences
  • Two Annas arrived, at the same River Ridge home, after many of the winterers had already departed.
  • We had more problems in the first two hours of the winter than the previous winterers had all year.
  • Also, the Shackleton has been here and left this morning with the last of last year's winterers on it.


Example sentences
  • I decided I needed a mid-winter break so what better place to visit than the Bay of Islands in the winterless north?
  • Coming to you from sunny winterless Queensland.


Example sentences
  • Guided tour through the winterly forest followed by hotpot meal and mulled wine at the outer pavilion of our hotel
  • The proverbial ‘remoteness’ of the winterly polar environment may become a trauma for sensitive persons.
  • Organisers are anticipating with great interest the results of the last exhibition day which was marked by deep winterly weather conditions.

Words that rhyme with winter

Jacinta, midwinter, Minter, Pinta, Pinter, printer, splinter, sprinter, tinter

Definition of winter in:

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