from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A wind system that influences large climatic regions and reverses direction seasonally.
  • noun A wind from the southwest or south that brings heavy rainfall to southern Asia in the summer.
  • noun The rain that accompanies this wind.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A wind occurring in the alternation of the trade-winds in India and the north Indian ocean.
  • noun Any of the winds that have annual alternations of direction and velocity, arising from differences of temperature between continents or islands and the surrounding ocean.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A wind blowing part of the year from one direction, alternating with a wind from the opposite direction; -- a term applied particularly to periodical winds of the Indian Ocean, which blow from the southwest from the latter part of May to the middle of September, and from the northeast from about the middle of October to the middle of December.
  • noun A heavy rainfall in India associated with the southwest monsoon{1}.
  • noun The season in which the monsoon{2} occurs.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any of a number of winds associated with regions where most rain falls during a particular season.
  • noun Tropical rainy season when the rain lasts for several months with few interruptions.
  • noun The rains themselves.
  • noun Entire meteorological systems with such characteristics.

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

  • noun rainy season in southern Asia when the southwestern monsoon blows, bringing heavy rains
  • noun a seasonal wind in southern Asia; blows from the southwest (bringing rain) in summer and from the northeast in winter
  • noun any wind that changes direction with the seasons


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

[Obsolete Dutch monssoen, from Portuguese monção, from Arabic mawsim, season, from wasama, to mark; see wsm in Semitic roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Arabic موسم (mausim, "season"), from وسم (wásama, "to mark, to brand"), through Portuguese monção and Dutch moesson.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word monsoon.


  • The term monsoon, or "monsun," I may explain, is derived from an Arabic word, _mausim_, meaning "a set time, or season of the year;" and is generally applied to a system of regular wind currents, like the Trades, blowing in different hemispheres beyond the range of those old customers with which ordinary voyagers are familiar.

    On Board the Esmeralda Martin Leigh's Log - A Sea Story William Heysham Overend 1874

  • We're looking for more rain for Myanmar, and this is just really the beginning of what we call the monsoon season.

    CNN Transcript May 17, 2008 2008

  • The threat's going to be ongoing though because we're in what we call the monsoon season, where afternoon thunderstorms are prevalent in the mountains hit and miss.

    CNN Transcript Jul 23, 2007 2007

  • (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); However, the term monsoon refers not only to the summer rains but to the entire cycle that consists of both summer moist onshore winds and rain from the south as well as the offshore dry winter winds that blow from the continent to the Indian Ocean.

    xml's 2008

  • The Indian Ocean was a particular surprise, as large portions of the ocean were seen to "light up" seasonally with changes in monsoon winds.

    NASA Watch: May 2009 Archives 2009

  • Sure, the Vampires are being held off, but I see that lasting about as long as a parasol in monsoon season.

    Strangeways: The Thirsty – Page 082 | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment 2009

  • That there has been a slight Melanesian drift in the period of the northwest monsoon, is also evident.

    MAUKI 2010

  • The Indian Ocean was a particular surprise, as large portions of the ocean were seen to "light up" seasonally with changes in monsoon winds.

    Cause for Concern? More Data Needed on Ocean's Health - NASA Watch 2009

  • The rainfall, resulting from the Guinean monsoon, is always scattered and unpredictable, declining towards the north and east.

    Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves, Niger 2008

  • The south end of the range experiences the southwesterly monsoon from the ocean and the north end dry northeasterly harmattan winds from the desert.

    Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire 2008


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.