My question is about a word I heard the other day in an audio book. Phonetically, it sounded like “SAW-sir-us” and had to do with a soft souind of the wind, or a soft wooshing sound. I believe it’s an older term describing a stillness of all but the wind, before an event. Has anyone the correct spelling and meaning?
There is a Latin word susurrus that meant a humming, muttering, or whispering. It was imported into English unchanged in the early 19th century, and per the OED has come to mean:
A low soft sound as of whispering or muttering; a whisper; a rustling.
I myself tend to think of it as a light whispering wind.
It’s stressed on the middle syllable — in theory. It’s not a word you hear very often and people aren’t always sure how to say unfamiliar words. I may have heard it stressed on the first syllable before, as you have yourself indicated. It would have been on the middle syllable in Latin due to the double-consonant at the end, and that’s how the OED gives it. Wiktionary gives both possibilities, although that’s crowd-sourced so anybody can write anything there.