There is confusion in the definition of a willy-willy. In the United States, the National Weather Service defines a willy-willy as “a tropical cyclone of hurricane strength near Australia”. But the Australian Bureau of Meteorology
defines the term to mean a dust devil where “local hot spots can develop on the ground, drawing in cooler air from around them and causing spiraling of the air”. The American Meteorological Society
also agrees on the newer definition of a willy-willy. While the term was previously used to denote a tropical cyclone, it is now commonly used in reference to dust devils.
Also Known As: Cockeyed bobs, dust devils
Alternate Spellings: A "willy willy" will often appear hyphenated as willy-willy.