Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A very strong wind.
  • n. Any of four winds with speeds of from 32 to 63 miles (51 to 102 kilometers) per hour, according to the Beaufort scale.
  • n. A fresh gale.
  • n. A forceful outburst: gales of laughter.
  • n. Archaic A breeze.
  • n. The sweet gale.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To sing; charm; enchant.
  • v. To cry; groan; croak.
  • v. To talk.
  • v. To call.
  • v. To sing; utter with musical modulations.
  • n. A very strong wind, more than a breeze, less than a storm; number 7 through 9 winds on the 12-step Beaufort scale.
  • n. An outburst, especially of laughter.
  • n. A light breeze.
  • n. A shrub, sweet gale (Myrica gale) growing on moors and fens.
  • n. A periodic payment, such as is made of a rent or annuity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A strong current of air; a wind between a stiff breeze and a hurricane. The most violent gales are called tempests.
  • n. A moderate current of air; a breeze.
  • n. A state of excitement, passion, or hilarity.
  • intransitive v. To sale, or sail fast.
  • n. A song or story.
  • intransitive v. To sing.
  • n. A plant of the genus Myrica, growing in wet places, and strongly resembling the bayberry. The sweet gale (Myrica Gale) is found both in Europe and in America.
  • n. The payment of a rent or annuity.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To sing.
  • To cry; groan; croak.
  • Of a person, to “croak”; talk.
  • To sing; utter with musical modulations.
  • n. A song.
  • n. Speech; discourse.
  • n. A strong natural current of air; a wind; a breeze; more specifically, in nautical use, a wind between a stiff breeze and a storm or tempest: generally with some qualifying epithet: as, a gentle, moderate, brisk, fresh, stiff, strong, or hard gale.
  • n. Figuratively, a state of noisy excitement, as of hilarity or of passion.
  • n. By extension, an odor-laden current of air.
  • n. The Myrica Gale, a shrub growing in marshy places in northern Europe and Asia and in North America: more usually called sweet-gale, from its pleasant aromatic odor.
  • n. A periodical payment of rent, interest, duty, or custom; an instalment of money.
  • n. The right of a free miner to have possession of a plot of land within the Forest of Dean and hundred of St. Briavels, in England, and to work the coal and iron thereunder.
  • To ache or tingle with cold, as the fingers.
  • To crack with heat or dryness, as wood.
  • A copper coin.
  • n. Gales are classified as moderate, fresh, strong, and whole gales. See Beaufort scale.
  • To sail away before the wind, or to outstrip another vessel in sailing: generally with away.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a strong wind moving 45-90 knots; force 7 to 10 on Beaufort scale

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
Middle English gail, from Old English gagel.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English galen, from Old English galan ("to sing, enchant, call, cry, scream; sing charms, practice incantation"), from Proto-Germanic *galanan (“to roop, sing, charm”), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰol-, *gʰel- (“to shout, scream, charm away”). Cognate with Danish gale ("to crow"), Swedish gala ("to crow"), Icelandic gala ("to sing, chant, crow"), Dutch galm ("sound, noise"). Related to yell. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English gale ("a wind, breeze"), probably of North Germanic origin, related to Icelandic gola ("a breeze"), Danish gal, furious, mad, from Old Norse gala ("to sing"). (Wiktionary)
Middle English gail, from Old English gagel (Wiktionary)
Middle English gavel ("rent", "tribute"), from Old English gafol (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Cimbri used the _Tamarix germanica_, the Scandinavians the fruit of the sweet gale (_Myrica gale_), the Cauchi the fruit and the twigs of the chaste tree (_Vitex agrius castus_), and the Icelanders the yarrow

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 3 "Brescia" to "Bulgaria"

  • One by one, like a flight of swallows, our more meagrely sparred and canvassed yachts went by, leaving them wallowing and dead and shortening down in what they called a gale but which we called a dandy sailing breeze.

    A Collection of Stories

  • Bevirt said the system is designed to withstand strong winds, and in gale-force winds or periods of no wind at all the array would be programmed to land itself and take to the air again when the wind conditions are more suitable.

    Airborne Wind Turbines to Generate Power Using High-Altitude Winds | Impact Lab

  • "The gale is breaking," he told me, waving his mittened hand at a starry segment of sky momentarily exposed by the thinning clouds.

    CHAPTER XXXVIII

  • He awoke in the morning to find a piping gale from the south, which caught the chill from the whited peaks and glacial valleys and blew as cold as north wind ever blew.

    THE ONE THOUSAND DOZEN

  • And at the same moment the gale from the south-west ceased.

    CHAPTER XII

  • Then I crossed on the ice, which was broken, and once drifted till a gale from the west put me upon the shore.

    An Odyssey of the North

  • White-knuckled, she gripped the clacking needles so ferociously she could have knitted the booties in gale force winds and they still would have turned out ankle-stranglers.

    First

  • At least megan gale is still his personal tooth fairy.

    Cheeseburger Gothic » Because the ladies have been relatively well behaved…

  • And no more shall I write, I swear, until this gale is blown out, or we are blown to Kingdom Come.

    CHAPTER XL

Comments

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  • "A gale of geese, a flock of geese."
    "To cry with a harsh note, a term applied to the cuckoo." --Dr. Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary and Supplement, 1841.

    May 18, 2011