Metaphor is a literary device used to paint a picture in our reader’s mind. We use metaphors about wind to create a sense of how the wind is acting and what the wind might mean for a story line.
We’ve gathered together 17 metaphors about wind that will blow you away!
Please note that we share both metaphors and similes in our metaphor lists. Several of these metaphors also involve personification. This is a literary device which involves giving inanimate objects human qualities, e.g. “the wind whispers”. Of course, wind cannot whisper – but it can seem that way as the wind sounds a little like a whisper at times. That leads us to our first metaphor!
Metaphors for Wind
1. The Wind Whispers
Of course, the wind doesn’t actually whisper. When we say that the wind whispers we are employing a literary device called personification. This means we are giving the wind (which obviously cannot speak) a human quality: the ability to whisper. By doing this, we are evoking in our reader’s mind the sound of wind making hushed ‘whooshing’ sounds as it rattles through trees and branches.
2. The Wind is Insistent
An insistent wind is a wind that continues for a long time or that just “won’t let up”. It blows and blows in our faces, possibly making our life a little difficult. We usually think of a person being insistent – someone who literally “insists” that you give them your attention. But when we talk about insistent wind, we mean the wind won’t stop beating away at you. It won’t calm down or relax. It is like it is demanding your attention and will not stop. This is also an example of
3. The Wind Bites
A biting wind is a wind that is usually cold and hurts your skin. When I was young, we used to call it the “arctic wind” … even though we lived nowhere near the arctic. But it got the point across: this is a wind that is so cold it hurts! Of course, the wind doesn’t literally bite anybody. But we can imagine that it’s giving us a whole lot of little bites wherever our skin is exposed because the feel of the wind on skin stings.
4. The Wind Roars
A roaring wind is a wind that makes the noise of a roaring animal because it’s so loud. This usually occurs when wind moves through a valley, trees or other structures. It causes friction between the moving air and the objects it passes by. This can cause a sound that, if you’re creative, sounds a little like a roaring lion. So, the wind doesn’t literally roar in the sense that an animal does (here again, we see personification). But the noises it can cause are similar to an animal’s roar. And therefore, we can use this metaphor to create a sense in the reader’s mind of a wind that’s as ferocious as a lion.
5. The Wind Punishes
Here is another example of personification of the wind (this seems to be quite a theme of wind metaphors!). Of course, the wind isn’t a sentient being, so it’s not really possible for the wind to literally dish out punishments. But a punishing wind is one that is so harsh and so powerful that it feels like it’s beating you up. It might rip off roofs, shake windows, and cause trees to fall down. We might associate a punishing wind with a hurricane or tornado, as punishing winds often leave damage in their wake.
6. The Wind Stutters
A stuttering wind is one that is strong for a moment then weaker, then strong then weaker. It “comes in fits and starts”. This sort of wind is very unpredictable, as opposed to the “types” of wind metaphorically referred to above. Those previous ones (punishing, insistent, biting) are more aggressive and generally more consistent. But a stuttering wind will subside then randomly return, making it hard to predict. The metaphor draws reference to a person who stutters, which is a speech defect in which someone tries to speak but finds it difficult.
7. The Wind is Fitful
A fitful wind is somewhat like a stuttering wind in that it is unpredictable and ever-changing. However, it is not the strength of the wind that we refer to when talking about a “fitful” wind. Instead, it is usually the direction of the wind. These sorts of winds usually swirl and turn back on themselves regularly. As a child in the valley where I grew up, we would know a storm is coming because it was preceded by a fitful wind. The trees would swirl in the wind and the sky would turn dark. This was likely due to two pressure systems colliding, causing the air to move in unpredictable patterns as the air pressure fluctuates.
8. The Wind is Stiff
A stiff wind is very much like a fierce wind. We call it ‘stiff’ because it seems so strong. I would usually talk about a “stiff” wind when depicting a character walking into the wind. The ‘stiffness’ comes from the wind pushing you back as you walk into it. This makes it feel like you’re walking through water. Your legs move slower and you have to lean forward to counter the stiffness of the wind. Of course, a gas substance like air in our atmosphere cannot be stiff. Stiff objects are ones that are rigid and cannot change shape. Of course, gasses do not have shape – and yet we use this metaphor to reflect on how the wind pushes against us as we walk into it.
9. The Wind Slaps (The Hand of the Wind Slapped my Face)
Sometimes the wind can feel like a hand slapping your face. Of course, the wind has no hand – but here again we see a type of metaphor we call “personification”. A slapping wind is one that is so “sharp” that it feels like it has slapped you. This feeling usually occurs when a wind starts from nowhere, or when you step out from behind a shelter and are first “hit” by the wind. Now if you want to take this further and make it a really sturdy metaphor, we can say “the hand of the wind slapped against my face”. Now, we have been certain to refer to the wind as a hand – this might be a good choice if you’re feeling that an inanimate object can, literally, slap.
10. The Wind Tickles (The Wind is a Feather)
Here, we have a unique type of wind not yet discussed in this article. A tickling wind is the soft sort of wind, perhaps even a breeze. The breeze certainly doesn’t impede your ability to walk, is unlikely to cause damage to trees or buildings, and may even feel pleasant against your skin. This pleasant feeling of the wind ruffling the hairs on your arm can feel a little like a tickle. Now, we debated whether this could be literal and not metaphorical (can an inanimate thing tickle? Perhaps so.) So, to make it a more sturdy metaphor, we might want to say that the wind is a feather, tickling our skin. (You can read more about how we create meaning with feather metaphors in our article on the symbolism of feathers.)
11. The Curtains Dance in the Wind
This metaphor refers to curtains – so it might be a metaphor about curtains, but it centrally involves the “actions of the wind” in order for it to operate. Often, curtains will move about and ruffle in the wind. When we claim that the curtains are “dancing” they are of course not really dancing – inanimate objects cannot dance, of course – or at the very least they cannot dance in the literal sense. There is no movement to rhythm or repetitive sequential moves. But the light movements back and forth when curtains are caught in a breeze makes them look as if they’re performing a form of elegant dance.
12. The Wind is an Untamed Beast
To call the wind an untamed beast is to highlight how it is wild, cannot be controlled, and will do whatever it wants. It’s like a wolf or bear: you’re not going to be able to reason with it. You have no control over its behavior. But of course you can’t say it’s “like” an untamed beast, or that’d be a simile! A metaphor is to say something is literally something that it’s not. So, we say it’s a thrashing bear, a roaring lion, or any other type of untamed beast to get our point across that we cannot control the wind.
13. The Winds of Change
The winds of change is a metaphor that again uses wind in the metaphor, but it’s not directly about the wind. It is using an idea about how wind “blows in” something new. There’s a famous Scorpions song called “the winds of change” which refers to how change is coming and it cannot be stopped. Here, the phrase “the winds of change” refers to something changing that’s beyond our control. Change is happening. Accept it!
14. A Friendly Breeze
And lastly, we have the metaphor of the friendly breeze. Unlike a fierce wind, a friendly breeze is pleasant and something you might enjoy on a summer’s evening. This breeze doesn’t bring with it destruction or harm in any form. Instead, it might blow away the heat and humidity of the day. Therefore, we can consider it to be a friend. It’s here to help, provide relief, and make the evening even more pleasant. As an author, you might say the friendly breeze brought with it the scent of flowers as a gift – this can get across the idea that the breeze is something pleasant.
The above metaphors about wind and breeze (or, at least involving wind) can help you to make your stories more engaging and enthralling. Your readers might appreciate the use of this literary device to help improve their reading experience. But remember not to use metaphors too often – it can be overdone and decrease the quality and authority of your writing.
If you have any more metaphors, similes or analogies involving the wind, we’d love to hear them! Leave your ideas in the comments below.
I’m a Scorpio, I love the outdoors, and I’ve written articles in some major online publications like Medium and The Weekly. My favorite metaphor? Anything that’s got to do with baseball. I’m fascinated by the fact our language has baseball weaved all through it. Read more about me here.