Is there anything in the wind...

Discuss word origins and meanings.

Is there anything in the wind...

Post by please » Sat Nov 19, 2005 9:55 am

Is there anything in the wind corresponding to the drops of rain and the flakes of snow?
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Is there anything in the wind...

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Nov 19, 2005 10:04 am

'Breaths', 'wafts', 'puffs' and 'gusts' are about the only terms I can think of that one might apply to air or wind movements of a general nature. Rain and snow are made up of discrete entities (the drops or flakes you mentioned), whereas 'wind' is the generic term for the flow of air molecules from an area of higher atmospheric pressure to an area of lower atmospheric pressure. (See the Wikipedia entry concerning wind for a more detailed discussion.) Because 1) the molecules are too small for us humans to observe individually, and 2) apart from its intensity, the variable properties of the wind, such as its humidity level, are usually almost as intangible as the air molecules themselves, we tend to just call it 'wind'.

Only the manifestations of the wind's variations of intensity are given specific names in English (see the Beaufort scale for examples). But in principle there is no reason that we could not have names for different kinds of wind that draw distinctions based on humidity, pollutedness, dustiness, optical clarity, temperature or some other measurable property. The fact that we have not already devised such names probably reflects a general perception up to now that those other possible properties of the wind are not important enough to justify it; and when they are of interest, it is easy enough simply to say something like "The wind today is unusually humid/very warm/carrying a lot of dust" etc.

For the sake of completeness, I should mention that there are a number of particular winds around the world that have proper names, such as the sirocco, mistral and chinook (also listed under the Wikipedia entry). Each of these blows from one defined geographical region to another, usually at a particular time of year.
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Is there anything in the wind...

Post by Phil White » Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:56 pm

Of course, the foul winds being discussed in the over-sharing foul thread also have a multitude of names.
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Is there anything in the wind...

Post by dalehileman » Sat Nov 19, 2005 6:14 pm

Please: If you're asking what means "in the wind," I've heard several versions; upcoming, likely, free, attainable, rumored. It's one of those idioms that the user drops wherever he thinks it conceivably might fit. By the way, what's the term for such an expression
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Is there anything in the wind...

Post by please » Sat Nov 19, 2005 8:39 pm

It rains and it snows, but it doesn't wind. In terms of linguistics is wind more or less developed than rain and snow?
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Is there anything in the wind...

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Nov 19, 2005 8:46 pm

Your last question doesn't seem coherent to me. 'More or less developed' in what sense?

The wind blows, of course.
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Is there anything in the wind...

Post by spiritus » Sun Nov 20, 2005 12:46 am

And breaks. Pardon me.
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Is there anything in the wind...

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Nov 20, 2005 7:29 am

We need a windbreak around here.
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Is there anything in the wind...

Post by please » Sun Nov 20, 2005 10:05 am

We have rain and snow in noun and verb, but wind only in noun, and not in verb. Now, linguistically, is wind better or lesser than rain and snow? Is there a discipline in linguistics exploring such differences?
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Is there anything in the wind...

Post by spiritus » Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:22 pm

"Now, linguistically, is wind better or lesser than rain and snow?" --- please

That would depend upon how appropriately you dressed before speaking.

"Is there a discipline in linguistics exploring such differences?" --- please

Of course there is. It's called "climate linguistics". Just trust me.
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Is there anything in the wind...

Post by russcable » Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:35 pm

Define "Linguistically better" and we might be able come up with an answer. Just because the rain rains, and the snow snows? My watch doesn't watch me (or does it?....).
Interestingly, for the twisting wind, you can wind a wind in a wind around a wind with a wind. Would you therefore say that the twisting wind is better than the driving rain?
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Is there anything in the wind...

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:40 am

There's a long, long trail a-winding.
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Is there anything in the wind...

Post by please » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:32 pm

I am trying to find out whether words do have a rank over other words. For instance only rain is needed to rain, but you need to blow to have a wind. Is then rain superior to wind in this aspect?
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Is there anything in the wind...

Post by Bobinwales » Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:08 pm

No, because the rain is Tess, the fire's Joe, and they call the wind Mariah
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Is there anything in the wind...

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:58 pm

Dale, perhaps you can explain things to 'please' in terms that he/she can understand? I sense that you have a sixth sense about this.
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