The Wind Winds

Es windet…Apparently, the wind can wind in Swiss and High German. But can we use wind as a verb in English?

First it started winding, then it started raining.

Swisstake

What verbs can I use to describe the wind?

In English, the wind doesn’t wind, it blows or howls. There are other verbs, of course. Here are a few:

    gust (to blow strongly for short periods of time)

    lash (to blow against something with force)

    drop (to become weaker)

    pick up (to become stronger)

    rise (to become stronger)

If you don’t want to use a verb, you can also say ‘it’s windy’ instead. This way, you’re using an adjective.

Wind as a verb

Note that the verb to wind does indeed exist in English. However, its meaning is unrelated to the wind. In fact, even the pronunciation differs:

wind (noun): /wɪnd/ 
wind (verb): /waɪnd/

The verb to wind (/waɪnd/) something is to turn, twist or coil something around something else, like winding a piece of string around your finger or winding wool into a ball of yarn. In German, the verb would be spulen, wickeln, winden or drehen. This is also where the verb to rewind comes from – back when we wound (past simple) VHS tapes or cassettes back to the beginning.

On the other hand, something can also wind by turning repeatedly, such as a winding river or a winding path. This way, we are using winding as an adjective. In this case, the German translation is schlängeln or sich schlängeln.