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wind


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The perceptible natural movement of the air, especially in the form of a current of air blowing from a particular direction, especially (in the four winds) blowing from each of the points of the compass, and often personified as such. The wind is traditionally taken as a type of swift light movement; it can also stand for mutability, and as a force that cannot be predicted or controlled.

In classical mythology, the winds were counted as gods; in Greece, Boreas (the North Wind) and Zephyr (the West Wind) were of particular importance. Virgil in the Aeneid describes the winds as being under the control of Aeolus, who had been given charge of them by Zeus and who kept them confined in a cave.

when the wind is in the east, 'tis neither good for man nor beast proverbial saying, early 17th century, referring to the traditional bitterness of the east wind (in Dickens's Bleak House (1853), Mr Jarndyce uses the expression ‘the wind's in the east’ to describe unpleasant or unwelcome circumstances).

wind of change an influence or tendency to change that cannot be resisted; the phrase in this sense derives from a speech in February 1960 by the Conservative politician Harold Macmillan (1894–1986) about the current of unstoppable change he was seeing in Africa.

See also God tempers the wind, it's an ill wind, north wind doth blow, raise the wind, a reed before the wind, they that sow the wind at sow 2, three sheets in the wind, whistle down the wind.


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