Winds that trade or tread in one uniform track. In the northern
hemisphere they blow from the north-east, and in the southern
hemisphere from the south-east, about thirty degrees each side
of the equator. In some places they blow six months in one direction,
and six in the opposite. It is a mistake to derive the word from trade (commerce), under the notion that they are “good for trade.”
(Anglo Saxon, tredde-wind, a treading wind—i.e. wind
of a specific “beat” or tread; tredan, to tread.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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