April 17, 2013
- monsoon (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : a periodic wind in the Indian Ocean and southern Asia2 : the rainy season that accompanies the southwest monsoon3 : rainfall that is associated with the monsoon season
- How do you use it?
- "I don't mind a few April showers, but I wasn't expecting a monsoon," complained Megan from under her dripping umbrella.
- Are you a word wiz?
Which one of these languages do you think gave us the word "monsoon"?"Monsoon" can be traced back to the Arabic word "mawsim," which means "time" or "season." We also get "admiral," which refers to a naval commander, from another Arabic word, "amir-al," meaning "commander of the" (sea, army, etc.). It is a curiosity of history that two such water-related words have their source in the language of people whose land is largely desert. On dry land, the names of the "gazelle," a type of antelope, and the "giraffe," both originated in Arabic, as well as those of some household and food items, such as "mattress" and "syrup."