What does soughing mean?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: soughing.

I hadn’t heard of writer Richard Wagamese until a couple of years ago when a friend recommended his book Ragged Company. I loved this story of a group of homeless people who cash in on a $13.5 million lottery ticket. (Rich premise for a novel, yes?)

On the “fast reads” shelf at my local library (where you can borrow popular books for no more than seven days and must pay a $1/day fine if you return them late), I recently discovered another Wagamese book: Medicine Walk. Unsure whether I’d be able to finish it on time, I grabbed it anyway, and I’m ever so glad I did.

The tale of a young First Nations man who must accompany his estranged father, who is dying, on a final journey, the book offers a lyrical piece of writing and a captivating story. It also gave me my word of the week: soughing. Here is how Wagamese used it in a sentence:

Birds twittered and there was a soft soughing of breeze in the top branches of the trees.

I wasn’t familiar with the word but, from context, assumed it must refer to a sound, a kind of shushing or whooshing. My etymology dictionary concurred saying it means “to make a moaning or murmuring sound.” The word comes from the Old English slogan meaning “to sound, roar, howl, rustle, whistle.”