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Which one is more popular?

I always used strong wind, but I found high winds also used some times.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

The terms strong winds and high winds are synonymous in everyday jargon, although they may have different meanings to a meteorologist.

As far as what phrase is more popular, I imagine it varies by locale. You can use Google Trends to analyze the popularity of two competing search terms. Here are the results for strong winds and high winds:

  • Worldwide, the two terms are used about as often, although high winds is a slightly more popular search term.

  • In the US, high winds is decidedly more popular than strong winds. This difference is most pronounced in North Dakota, Hawaii, and Nevada, where high winds trounces strong winds.

  • In other countries, such as New Zealand, Canada, and Australia, the term strong winds is quite a bit more popular a search term than high winds.

  • Some countries have virtually no one searching on the term high winds. The Philippines, Singapore, Finland, and Sweden are four such examples.

In a nutshell, both terms are valid, but which one is more popular depends on the region.

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The CORPUS OF CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN ENGLISH indicates that high winds is used more than strong winds (435 vs 251 occurrences).

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Either one is fine, although you do see "strong" used more. But it's your pleasure. Paul Simon repeats the phrase "strong wind" on his album Graceland. But the National Weather Service says on one of its pages "This information is most useful in the decision-making process to decide which people might be most vulnerable to high winds at inland locations."

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