continental drift


: a slow movement of the continents on a deep-seated viscous zone within the earth compare plate tectonics

Examples of continental drift in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Yes, there is fossil evidence of continental drift. Sofia Quaglia, Discover Magazine, 21 Dec. 2023 The far-reaching distribution of Glossopteris provided integral evidence to support the idea of continental drift. Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 10 Nov. 2023 Later, German scientist Alfred Wegener formed the theory of continental drift — which hypothesized that the continents separated and drifted to other locations. Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 10 Nov. 2023 At the time of T. indicus – some 167 million years ago – the region was much wetter and bordered on the former Tethys Ocean, now erased by continental drift. Matt Hrodey, Discover Magazine, 31 Aug. 2023 But the idea, called continental drift, remained highly debated into the 1960s, and no one had come up with a way to synthesize it all into a grand, testable framework. Clay Risen,, 12 Aug. 2023 The benefits of boundaries Our first known is geography, which continental drift will in time alter, but not in our time. Hal Brands, Foreign Affairs, 19 Oct. 2021 According to Kristofer Helgen, a biologist and chief scientist at the Australian Museum, the continent lays claim to so many deadly creatures partially because of continental drift. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, 25 Feb. 2022 Finding the Ancient Fish Thanks to continental drift, the world was a different place some 360 million years ago, when H. udlezinye ruled lakes and estuaries. Matt Hrodey, Discover Magazine, 7 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'continental drift.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of continental drift was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near continental drift

Cite this Entry

“Continental drift.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

continental drift

: the slow movement of the continents on a fluid layer that extends to deep within the earth

More from Merriam-Webster on continental drift

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!