To Get Wind of — Idiom, Meaning & Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

To get wind of something means to suddenly discover a piece of information, especially if it’s secret or confidential. Picture a gentle gust carrying whispers of gossip your way.

Want to learn more about how this idiom came about? I’ve got all the breezy details on its definition and how to use it in a sentence.

What Does “Get Wind of” Mean as an Idiom?

To Get Wind of — Idiom Meaning Origin

The idiom get wind of means to become aware of or discover shocking information about something, and it’s usually through indirect or casual means, aka by accident. Just as the wind can bring scents and sounds from afar, this phrase connotes getting information that may have been meant to remain a secret.

I can’t help but think of Christmas one year when my husband went to great lengths to keep my gift a secret. But my kids knew what it was and inadvertently dropped a few hints that led me to figure out what my present was. So, I could say that I caught wind of it.

Other Forms of the Expression

Idioms are as flexible as an Olympic gymnast, and get wind of is no exception. You might also hear people use variations like catch wind of, got wind of, caught wind of, or even the more action-packed grab wind of. Just know that they’re all correct and can be used in place of one another.

Origin and Etymology of the Idiom Get Wind of

Get Wind Of Ngram
Get wind of usage trend.

Our phrase get wind of derives from the days when the main form of long-distance travel was to sail the seas. The wind could carry the smell of land, other ships, or even a good (or not-so-good) dinner cooking on board, alerting sailors to something before they could see it.

Other sources tell the tale of this phrase coming from the whole idea of hunting. As a hunter, the breeze can carry different scents that giveaway where the game might be. And likewise, the wind can carry your human scent and accidentally alert animals that danger is near. 

Obviously, it went from the literal “getting wind” and transformed into the metaphorical phrase we use today for picking up information indirectly.

“Get Wind of” Synonyms

What’s wrong? Is the phrase get wind of not quite blowing you away? No worries. You can switch it up with these synonyms:

  • Find out about
  • Hear about
  • Learn of
  • Pick up on
  • Unearth

Using “Get Wind of” in a Sentence

To Get Wind of — Idiom Meaning Origin 1

  • As soon as the boss gets wind of our plans to go over his head, we’ll be in big trouble.
  • I got wind of a new restaurant opening downtown, and I heard it might be a sushi place!
  • We know she caught wind of the surprise party and still pretended to be shocked.
  • Michael quickly changed the subject when he got wind of where the conversation was going.
  • News travels fast in this one-horse town. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve already gotten wind of our decision to adopt.
  • My parents caught wind of my report card before I could hide it from them.
  • We’ll have to be careful, or they’ll grab wind of our secret co-author project and copy us.
  • She got wind of the rumor but didn’t believe it until she saw it with her own eyes.
  • As soon as the media gets wind of this, it’ll be all over the news.

Sailing on a Sea of Idioms

Don’t you just love fun idioms like this? They’re simple on the surface but always have such an interesting backstory. Now that I’ve explained what it means and how to use it, try applying the phrase get wind of in your writing.