December 09, 2011
tempest (noun)
\TEM-pust\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : a violent storm2 : a violent commotion : uproar
How do you use it?
While a wild tempest raged outside, we were happy to be cozy and snug inside.
Are you a word wiz?

We want you to brainstorm about "tempest." "Tempest" traces back to the Latin word "tempus." What do you think "tempus" means?

This was a tricky one. The Latin word "tempus" means "time," and is the ancestor of such time-related words as "contemporary" and "temporary." So how did a word for stormy weather develop from a word meaning "time"? An important way of measuring time is according to the season, a method people frequently relied on long ago. And an important feature of the various seasons is the weather. Some seasons are notable for bringing extreme weather. From "tempus," Latin-speakers created a word that brought all of these ideas together: "tempestus," which means "season," "weather," and "storm." "Tempestus" came into English via Anglo-French as "tempeste," meaning "a violent storm," and eventually became the modern word "tempest."
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