sea spray; especially : spray blown from waves during a gale
fine wind-borne snow or sand
“The winds around the mountain were fierce and a long white plume of spindrift trailed from the summit.” (Michael Palin, [London] Sunday Times, September 26, 2004)
Did you know?
“Spindrift” first set sail in the mid-18th century under Scottish command. During its first voyage, it was known by the Scottish moniker “speendrift.” “Speen” meant “to drive before a strong wind,” so a “speendrift” was a drift of spray during such action. In 1823, English speakers recruited the word, but signed it up as “spindrift.” At that time, its sole duty was to describe the driving sprays at sea. However, English speakers soon realized that “spindrift” had potential to serve on land as well, and the word was sent ashore to describe driving snow and sand. Today, “spindrift” still serves us commendably at sea and on land.