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chinook,warm, dry air mass that descends the eastern slopes of the U.S. and Canadian Rocky Mts. after having lost moisture by condensation over the western slopes. Chinooks occur mainly in winter. They sometimes replace the cold continental air mass over the western plains, causing rapid melting of snow and temperature increases as great as 40°F; (22°C;) within a few hours. Similar winds occurring in the Alps and elsewhere are known as foehn winds. The term chinook was originally applied by Oregon settlers to a moist Pacific wind blowing from the direction of a Chinook camp.
Chinook(shĭno͝ok`, chĭ–), Native American tribe of the Penutian linguistic stock. Altogether twelve main tribes spoke Chinook languages; all were in the Columbia River valley. The Chinook themselves were on the lower extremity of the river and, with the Clatsop, constituted the now extinct Lower Chinook branch of the linguistic stock (see Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ). The village was their main social unit, and a wealthy chief might control several villages. Slavery was common among the Chinook. Their food consisted mostly of fish, roots, and berries. They were skilled with canoes, were noted traders, and practiced the custom of potlatchpotlatch
, ceremonial feast of the natives of the NW coast of North America, entailing the public distribution of property. The host and his relatives lavishly distributed gifts to invited guests, who were expected to accept any gifts offered with the understanding that at a
..... Click the link for more information. . They lacked the totemic art and the secret societies of their neighbors. They were well known to the traders on the Pacific coast in the late 18th cent., and a corrupted form of their language known as Chinook jargon served as a trade language from the Columbia River to Alaska. There were some 800 Chinook in the United States in 1990, working primarily in fishing, logging, and lumbering.
a southwesterly foehn that blows on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Canada and the USA and on the adjacent parts of the prairie. The chinook is accompanied by a very sudden, sharp increase in air temperature of as much as 20° to 30°C, which facilitates increased melting of snow, faster ripening of fruit, and so on. The chinook is observed year-round but is especially frequent in the winter. The term “chinook” is also applied to the moist southwesterly wind that blows from the Pacific Ocean along the western coast of the USA.