"strong wind," especially at sea, 1540s, from gaile "wind," origin uncertain. Perhaps from Old Norse gol "breeze," or Old Danish gal "bad, furious" (often used of weather), which are related to Old Norse galinn "furious, mad, frantic; enchanted, bewitched," from gala "to sing, chant," the wind so called from its raging or on the notion of being raised by spells (but OED finds reason to doubt this). Or perhaps it is named for the sound, from Old English galan "to sing," or giellan "to yell." The Old Norse and Old English words all are from the source of yell (v.). In nautical use, between a stiff breeze and a storm; in technical meteorological use, a wind between 32 and 63 miles per hour.
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