Our ship is near the equator, and the wind of the North kept blowing the ship to the south.

I feel that "of the North" means that the wind comes from a far away northern region, and not like 2 miles from the equator in the north. Is this the case?

(I wrote the sentence myself)

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    My geography teacher used to make us repeat "a wind is named for the quarter of the compass FROM WHICH IT BLOWS". If a wind blows from the north, it is a north wind. It doesn't have to "start" (whatever that means) anywhere in particular. – Michael Harvey Feb 7 at 19:52
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    Sometimes you do hear "the wind out of the north". – Canadian Yankee Feb 7 at 20:16
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    @MichaelHarvey: where a wind starts generally refers to where it's brought a weather system from, or even if not a proper weather system it indicates how warm or wet the wind is likely to be. – SamBC Feb 7 at 20:40
  • Wind out of the north, or wind from the north, a north wind. of the north is not standard at all. That would mean something else entirely. – Lambie Feb 9 at 16:42

That wouldn't be a usual way of phrasing it. As it isn't something people usually see, I don't think you can rely on it being understood in a single way. People might read it like it was mistranslated, as I believe some languages' way of saying "wind from the north" literally translates as "wind of the north". Capitalisation might affect the reading as well, as English does not usually capitalise compass directions. If the world-building of a piece of fiction has established North was a proper noun with particular meaning, it would be more likely to read as being from further away. If not, it would be more likely to just puzzle people.

If you have that world-building established, and want it to be read as a wind that truly started in the area known as the North, "from the North" would be safer to get people to read it as being form a distance. "From the far north" would suggest that it originates a long way away, and combine the two to get people to reliably read it that way - "from the far North".

The natural ways to say it if you merely wish to say that the wind comes from the northerly direction would be "northerly wind". Alternatively, "north wind" has extra poetic connotations that would affect how people read it. "From the north" without capitalisation or adding "far" would usually be read as just indicating direction.

  • Anthropomorphic wind deities are often described exactly the way the OP states. "Boreas is the wind of the North" – james Feb 7 at 21:42
  • SamBC: "a peace of fiction" ... a restful read? – Michael Harvey Feb 9 at 15:27
  • @Michael: a small error, but a poetic one 😛 – SamBC Feb 9 at 16:19

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