Get wind of

Get wind of is an interesting idiom. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom get wind of, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

To get wind of something means to hear a rumor, to find out information through unofficial channels, to hear about a secret before others are aware of the information. The expression get wind of has been in use since the first half of the 1800s and is an allusion to the fact that animals become aware of predators and prey by sensing a scent on the wind. Hunters approach their prey from downwind, so that their sent will travel away from the intended target rather than toward it. Related phrases are gets wind of, got wind of, gotten wind of, getting wind of.


There was no advance notice of the meeting; reporters didn’t get wind of it till the governor’s daily schedule was emailed at 9:21 p.m. (Tallahassee Democrat)

Chipz’s team is ever-expanding as more investors and experienced blockchain think tanks get wind of the platform’s attractive future business model. (Financial Post)

The socially isolated but sharp-eyed Sofia works to uncover the hacker’s identity – and we got wind of who was behind it at the end of the first series. (Manchester Evening News)

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