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downdraught | downdraft, n. and adj.

Forms:  see down adv.   and draught n.(Show Less)
Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: Formed within English, by compounding. Etymons: down adv., draught n.
Etymology: < down adv. + draught n.
With sense A. 1a   compare down-drag n.
 A. n.

 a. Sc. A person who or thing which drags or weighs someone down; a depressing influence; a burden. Cf. down-drag n.   Now rare. Sc. National Dict. (at Doon) records this phrase as still in use in Angus and Stirling in 1940.

a1681   J. Welch Alarm to Impenitent (1710) 7   Some Men leave off some Sins or such a Sin, and all the reason is because, it wronged their Credit, or was a Downdraught to their Family.
1813   E. Picken Misc. Poems I. 68   We yield To nae downdraught but perfect eild.
1850   A. McGilvray Poems 58   Wives, and wives' friends..are..a d——d down-draught, If they be poor.
1895   Glasgow Evening News 30 Oct. 6/1   From his knowledge, he could say these steelworks were merely a down-draught on the company, and should be disposed of at once.
1929   Scotsman 16 July 8/6   At this point we see Mount Benger, the farm which became such a sore downdraught to James Hogg.

a1681—1929(Hide quotations)


b. Chiefly Sc. A profligate person; a ne'er-do-well. Obsolete.

1835   Aberdeen Shaver Jan. 125   He is..nothing better than a down-draught, or ne'er-do-weel.
1849   C. Brontë Shirley II. xi. 259   They were chiefly ‘down-draughts’, bankrupts, men always in debt and often in drink.
1895   Sunday at Home July 658/2   She had married a doon draught, and must e'en make the best of him.

1835—1895(Hide quotations)


 a. The downward movement of air through a chimney; a current of air drawn downward through a chimney.

1817   New Monthly Mag. Mar. 125/2   The best construction for the interior of a chimney, so that the annoying evil of smoking and down-draught may be prevented.
1849   Dublin Rev. Dec. 541   How the north wind should always drive a down-draught..into his drawing-room.
1907   Daily Chron. 25 Oct. 8/5   It was maddening that these harsh down-draughts of the smoke should come to help the enemy [sc. death].
1950   Country Life 27 Oct. 1418/2   The enclosed photograph..shows a chimney with a marked kink... Perhaps some more observant reader could say whether this feature..is to improve the updraught or to check downdraught.
2014   Philadelphia Inquirer 12 Feb. c3/3   To make matters worse, the downdraft blew smoldering embers onto the newly laid white carpet.

1817—2014(Hide quotations)


 b. A downward-moving draught in a room or other confined space, such as one coming from a vent or window.

1842   Freeman's Jrnl. (Dublin) 5 Feb.   These tubes [i.e. air-tubes providing ventilation] may open directly through the roof itself, terminating with a cap, to prevent down-draughts.
1867   Pop. Sci. Rev. 6 410   At the level of the ceiling a number of perforated bricks are introduced into the wall... In order to prevent..a down-draught from these openings, a cornice is so arranged as to cover them.
1921   Electrician 8 Apr. 402/1   An air-brick..placed in an external wall..as often as not results in a cold down draught.
1988   Guardian 3 Sept. 26/4   The classic recommendation is to fit radiators beneath windows to warm down draughts.
2000   U. Larsson & B. Moshfegh in H. B. Awbi Air Distribution in Rooms II. 774   The intention of this paper is to investigate the downdraught below a well-insulated window.

1842—2000(Hide quotations)


 c. Meteorology. A descending current of air.

1884   N. S. Shaler First Bk. Geol. iii. 58   The less-heated air, from regions nearer the poles, flows down towards the equator. This causes a down-draft into the far northern and southern regions.
1900   Monthly Weather Rev. July 289/1   The down draft of an eastern current of air into the Page Valley, which often begins about 6 p.m., interests me.
1949   Thunderstorm iii. 52/1   As the storm cell grows and a downdraft develops, the surface winds take on an entirely different character.
1961   Guardian 4 Sept. 1/6   The sports plane was apparently caught by a down-draught.
2011   Fortean Times Mar. 4/1   Another idea was that the birds..had been hit by a microburst, a sudden fierce downdraft of wind.

1884—2011(Hide quotations)


 d. The powerful downward blast of air generated by the rotors of a helicopter, esp. that coming from a helicopter on or close to the ground; an instance of this.In quot. 1908   with reference to a small, unmanned model of an early helicopter designed and built by French inventor Paul Cornu.

1908   Sci. Amer. Suppl. 16 May 316/1   The model helicopter consisted..of two relatively large propellers..arranged to blow downward upon two small planes set at an angle... The down draft of air upon these planes caused the machine to move along in a horizontal direction as soon as it had been raised in the air by the propellers.
1946   Altoona (Pa.) Mirror 8 July 5/1   The helicopter made three or four runs over the cattle... Downdraft of the rotor shot the insecticide to the ground and then swirled it up and around the cattle.
1950   Pop. Mech. Dec. 75/2   The downdraft from the spinning blades [of the helicopter] literally blew out the fire.
1977   C. Thomas Firefox (1978) iv. 109   A chopper buzzed overhead, the downdraught plucking at his cap and jacket, flapping his trousers.
2010   Economist 11 Dec. (Technol. Q. Suppl.) 8/1   Their huge rotors create a powerful downdraft that makes handling that payload rather tricky.

1908—2010(Hide quotations)


 3. Chiefly in form downdraft. A depressing economic force or influence; (in weakened use) a decline in economic activity or the value of a stock, a market, etc.; a downturn.Quot. 1852   shows an apparently isolated early example. Modern use originated in the United States as a meteorological metaphor; cf. sense A. 2c.

1852   Dundee Courier 12 May   That very month [sc. April, 1851] was held then to be proof of progress; but now, when there is a down-draught, it is quietly set up as exceeding ‘the ordinary average’!
1960   Sunday Gaz.-Mail (Charleston, W. Va.) 3 Jan. 9 c/5   You will not change your course until one of your speculations gets caught in a downdraft and you discover that stock markets go down as well as up.
1970   Econ. & Polit. Weekly 8 Aug. 1331/1   The stock market has been caught in a vicious downdraft—the worst since 1937.
1991   Forbes 2 Sept. 324/3   This is a stock for buying and holding only for those with a fairly long time frame and the psychology to ride out downdrafts.
2009   Financial Times 14 May 34/1   The downdraft was so brutal it blew away all talk of..global growth.

1852—2009(Hide quotations)


4. The drawing or displacing of water by an object as it sinks. Obsolete. rare.

1899   F. T. Bullen Way Navy 24   The down-draught of the anchor had sucked him after it almost to the bottom.

1899—1899(Hide quotations)

 B. adj.

 1. Designating a furnace, kiln, etc., in which heated air rises up before being deflected and drawn down into the main chamber.

1854   Jrnl. Soc. Arts 29 Dec. 100/1 (heading)    The down-draught smokeless furnace.
1906   T. Moore Handbk. Pract. Smithing & Forging ii. 6   These down-draught hearths are now being adopted in many of the modern works.
1959   Chambers's Encycl. VI. 130/2   Intermittent kilns may be of the rectangular or round down-draught type.
2009   S. Branfman Mastering Raku vii. 70/1   Unless you're building a true downdraft kiln, you don't have to worry about a stack or chimney.

1854—2009(Hide quotations)


 2. Designating a carburettor in which air enters at the top of the unit and passes downwards before mixing with fuel.

1929   Times 10 Oct. 8/5   A notable addition to the two engines is the new down-draught carburettor.
1935   Jrnl. Royal Aeronaut. Soc. 39 503   A centrifugal fan delivers compressed air to a Stromberg down-draught carburettor.
1959   Motor Man. (ed. 36) iii. 51   Carburetters may be updraught, horizontal or down-draught, according to the direction in which the main mixture stream is fed into the engine.
2015   P. Pugh Magic of Name Rolls-Royce Story (Electronic ed.) viii.   Tomahawks were lucky because they had a top air intake and a downdraught carburettor.

1929—2015(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, December 2018).

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