Origin of the word
The word phenomenon is derived from the Greek words ‘phainein’ meaning ‘bring to light’ and ‘phainesthai’ meaning ‘to appear’. It is more directly derived from the Late Latin word ‘phænomenon’, which is also from the Greek ‘phainomenon’ meaning ‘that which appears’. The word phenomenon first appeared in English sometime in the 1570s, and its first recorded use in its current meaning was in 1771.
Phenomenon is a noun that refers to the occurrence of an event or situation. It is often used to describe extraordinary or surprising situations: “Last night’s meteor shower was a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon”, or “The low budget independent film turned out to be a wildly successful worldwide phenomenon.” The word phenomenon can also sometimes be used to describe extraordinarily talented people: “The young football star was quickly becoming a phenomenon on the international scene.”
As people all over the world begin to gear up for the holiday season, meteorologists predict that Britain will see its coldest winter in years thanks to global weather phenomenon La Niña. Temperatures have already plunged as low as -10 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country, with snowfall recorded in the mountains of eastern Scotland in recent weeks.
La Niña as a phenomenon occurs regularly every few years, marked by a drop in sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean. This change can significantly disrupt weather patterns all over the world, including increased precipitation, more frequent storms and below average temperatures.
La Niña last impacted weather patterns in Britain in 2010, causing widespread snow and ice, as well as temperatures well below typical winter norms. Since then, cold weather temperatures across the nation have hovered around average. This winter, however, some reports indicate the La Niña phenomenon will cause record lows and snow all across England and Wales. Meteorologists predict February will be the coldest month in several years. In fact, London could see as many as seven days of snow and ice this winter, most likely in February.
1. an event or situation that can be seen to happen or exist
2. someone or something that is very impressive or surprising
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.