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Apparently in its origin a slang term, probably a derivative of dold adj., or of dol , dull


  • 1: a spell of listlessness or despondency
  • 2: often capitalized : a part of the ocean near the equator abounding in calms, squalls, and light shifting winds
  • 3: a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump


The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), known by sailors as The Doldrums, is the area encircling the earth near the equator where winds originating in the northern and southern hemispheres come together.

The ITCZ was originally identified from the 1920s to the 1940s as the "Intertropical Front" (ITF), but after the recognition in the 1940s and 1950s of the significance of wind field convergence in tropical weather production, the term "ITCZ" was then applied. When it lies near the equator, it is called the near-equatorial trough. Where the ITCZ is drawn into and merges with a monsoonal circulation, it is sometimes referred to as a monsoon trough, a usage more common in Australia and parts of Asia. In the seamen's speech the zone is referred as the doldrums because of its erratic weather patterns with stagnant calms and violent thunderstorms.[1]