The author tentatively titled the novel Tomorrow is Another Day, from its last line. Other proposed titles included Bugles Sang True, Not in Our Stars, and Tote the Weary Load. The title Mitchell finally chose is from the first line of the third stanza of the poem Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae sub Regno Cynarae by Ernest Dowson:
I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind, Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng, Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind...
Scarlett O'Hara uses the title phrase when she wonders to herself if her home on a plantation called "Tara" is still standing or if it is "gone with the wind which had swept through Georgia." In a general sense, the title is a metaphor for the departure of a way of life that existed in the South prior to the Civil War. When taken in the context of Dowson's poem about "Cynara", the phrase "gone with the wind" alludes to erotic loss. The poem expresses the regrets of someone who has lost his passionate feelings for his "old passion", Cynara. Dowson's Cynara, a name that comes from the Greek word for artichoke, represents a lost love.
The title was printed throughout the 1,037 pages of the book as shown here: Gone with the Wind, using lower-case letters for the words with and the. An upper-case W for the word with appeared in the title printed on the dust jacket where the words GONE, WITH and WIND were in capital letters in brown ink against a yellow background (GONE WITH the WIND), giving the title a billboard-like presentation. The title was printed in all capitals, partially italicized, on two lines in blue ink: GONE (first line), WITH THE WIND (second line), on the hardcover, which was "Confederate gray".