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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Gale \Gale\ (g[=a]l), n. [Prob. of Scand. origin; cf. Dan. gal furious, Icel. galinn, cf. Icel. gala to sing, AS. galan to sing, Icel. galdr song, witchcraft, AS. galdor charm, sorcery, E. nightingale; also, Icel. gj[=o]la gust of wind, gola breeze. Cf. Yell.] 1. A strong current of air; a wind between a stiff breeze and a hurricane. The most violent gales are called tempests. [1913 Webster] Note: Gales have a velocity of from about eighteen ("moderate") to about eighty ("very heavy") miles an our. --Sir. W. S. Harris. [1913 Webster] 2. A moderate current of air; a breeze. [1913 Webster] A little gale will soon disperse that cloud. --Shak. [1913 Webster] And winds of gentlest gale Arabian odors fanned From their soft wings. --Milton. [1913 Webster] 3. A state of excitement, passion, or hilarity. [1913 Webster] The ladies, laughing heartily, were fast getting into what, in New England, is sometimes called a gale. --Brooke (Eastford). [1913 Webster] Topgallant gale (Naut.), one in which a ship may carry her topgallant sails. [1913 Webster]