Also found in: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


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 ?
The approximately 17,000-square-foot building, designed by KPB Architects, is being transformed into an urban arts, food, event, and entertainment destination, Williwaw.
Prior to The City and the Pillar, Vidal had published two well-received war novels; his first, Williwaw (1946), Donald Pease notes, was "along with Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead, of 1948 .
The recently constructed Canopy Tour, Williwaw Racing Zip and indoor climbing wall will also be open this winter.
He was up in the Aleutian campaign, he wrote Williwaw, and technically speaking, it was the first major World War II novel, after the war.
RASKIN: Your first novel, Williwaw, was published in 1946 when you were 21-years-old.
Vidal started writing as a 19-year-old soldier stationed in Alaska, basing his first novel Williwaw on his World War Two experiences.
The festival, which kicks off tonight, prides itself on the weird and wonderful, with the line-up this year ranging from a 1930s-inspired artist called Lady K to the sonic maelstrom of American performer Williwaw who uses amplifiers and all his limbs to produce a truly unique sound.
American author, whose works include Williwaw and Messiah.
Dillon write in The Williwaw War (1992), "they fought blinding, waist-deep snow; sleet that struck as from a sandblaster; fogs so thick and persistent that fliers claimed it was clear enough for takeoff if they could see their copilots; the williwaw, that incredible wind that seemed to blow from every direction at once, and that blew away anything not fastened down.
His first novel, Williwaw, set on an army transport ship off the coast of Alaska during World War II, received much critical praise when Vidal was only nineteen.
Aldridge found him interesting enough to include among the Neo-Hemingways: he, along with Vidal and "their terse little books," Williwaw and Casualty, had "helped to carry the tradition of Hemingway into our own decade" (133).
Vidal had already reached a national audience with his first book, Williwaw, based on his experience in World War II, and the year before had been photographed for Life magazine in a feature on young writers.