Word of the day – éolienne

Wind turbine / éolienne

One of the things we discussed at the French conversation group last night was wind turbines, or les éoliennes in French. I hadn’t heard the word before and it took me a while to work out its meaning, but I knew it had something to do with the wind as Aeolus (Αἴολος) was the ruler of the winds in Greek mythology. Eventually I realised what it was from the context.

The word aeolian also appears in aeolian harp (harpe éolienne), a harp played by the wind; aeolian processes (érosion éolienne), wind generated geologic processes; the Aeolian Islands (Les Îles Éoliennes), the Aeolian mode of music, a musical mode; and Eolianite (L’éolianite), a sandstone formed from wind transported sediment.

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This entry was posted in English, Etymology, French, Greek, Language.

5 Responses to Word of the day – éolienne

  1. Yenlit says:

    I’m standing next to a “tyrbin gwynt” right now. They call them “rod-avel” in Breton which I think means ‘wind wheel’?

  2. Simon says:

    Rod-avel does indeed mean ‘wind wheel’ in Breton.

    Names for wind turbines in other languages include:

    Bulgarian: Ветрогенератор [vetrogenerator] (wind generator)
    Catalan/Spanish: Aerogenerador (air generator)
    Chinese: 風力發電機 / 风力发电机 [fēnglì fādiànjī] (wind power generator)
    Czech: Větrná turbína (wind turbine)
    Finnish: Tuuliturbiini (wind turbine)
    German: Windrad (wind wheel)
    Greek: Αιολική μηχανή [Aioliké mekhané] (wind machine)
    Irish: tuirbín gaoithe (wind turbine)
    Japanese: 風力原動機 [fūryoku gendōki] (wind power engine)
    Scottish Gaelic: tuirbin-gaoithe (wind turbine)

  3. Peter J. Franke says:

    windmolen in Dutch.

  4. Drabkikker says:

    Can you imagine? The Dutch don’t even have a word to distinguish a modern windmill from a traditional one: it’s all ‘windmolen’. Okay, you could say ‘windturbine’, but I expect that term to be used mainly by engineers.
    Never knew the French call them éolienne! That is the cutest word for such an ugly thing I’ve ever heard.

  5. Michael says:

    Korean – 풍력터빈 (風力turbine), or the more technical 풍력발전기 (風力發電機)