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1. A violent gust of cold wind blowing seaward from a mountainous coast, especially in the Straits of Magellan.
2. A sudden gust of wind; a squall.

[Origin unknown.]


1. (Physical Geography) a sudden strong gust of cold wind blowing offshore from a mountainous coast, as in the Strait of Magellan
2. a state of great turmoil
[C19: of unknown origin]


(ˈwɪl iˌwɔ)

a violent squall that blows in near-polar latitudes, as in the Strait of Magellan, Alaska, and the Aleutian Islands.
[1835–45; orig. uncertain]
References in periodicals archive ?
Williwaws (blasts of wind) are known to rush down the steep mountainsides, but the anchorage is secure.
Instead of putting a stop to Hitler's "Desert Fox" in Africa, soldiers boarded transport ships and sailed north to the Aleutian Islands where the freezing waters of' the Bering Sea and the North Pacific Ocean collide, a place where storms, called williwaws, grant no mercy, and mistakes can send ships and men to icy graves on the ocean floor.
Today, only the fog and williwaws visit the emplacements and rusting machines of war wasting away oft the tundra and treeless mountains, but here was a battle pitting warriors against each other and nature against all--a battle not to he forgotten in a place called Attu.