earth·​quake | \ ˈərth-ˌkwāk How to pronounce earthquake (audio) \

Definition of earthquake

1 : a shaking or trembling of the earth that is volcanic or tectonic in origin

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Synonyms for earthquake


quake, shake, temblor, tremor

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Examples of earthquake in a Sentence

a building destroyed by earthquake the San Andreas Fault is notorious for its earthquakes

Recent Examples on the Web

The economy shrank in the previous quarter partly due to a typhoon that closed a major airport and an earthquake that left the northern island of Hokkaido without electricity for two days. Megumi Fujikawa, WSJ, "Japanese Economy Scores Rebound," 13 Feb. 2019 Unlike many large tsunamis, this one was not caused by an earthquake. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "Deadly Indonesian tsunami was not caused by an earthquake," 23 Dec. 2018 Celebrations in Mexico City of the goal against Germany were so rowdy that seismologists checked reports of an artificial earthquake. Derek Gatopoulos And Carlos Rodriguez,, "Mexico face South Korea as federation calls fans to behave," 22 June 2018 The ash explosion had been anticipated amid a flurry of earthquakes and increasing pressure, according to US Geological Survey. Madison Park, CNN, "Ash eruption at Kilauea summit was so strong, it registered as a 5.4 earthquake," 7 June 2018 People living near the volcano have been shaken by hundreds of earthquakes. Heidi Chang,, "Evacuations ordered in Hawaii as fast-moving lava threatens neighborhoods," 1 June 2018 The initial burst came after hundreds of earthquakes rattled the area for days, with a magnitude 5.0 quake recorded shortly before the explosion earlier this month, according to the Associated Press. Char Adams,, "Lava Spatter Crushes Man's Leg in First Known Injury from Hawaii Volcano: 'Small Pieces Can Kill'," 21 May 2018 The rolling eruptions of Kilauea, which have caused hundreds of earthquakes, forced thousands of people in the nearby communities to evacuate. Jennifer Calfas, Time, "Here's What the Hawaii Volcano Eruption Looks Like From Space," 15 May 2018 In April, swarms of earthquakes began in the area, and in May the crater began erupting, ejecting gas, ash and boulders up to 14 tons during 50 eruptions over the course of two and a half weeks. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "“Explosive” Eruptions Possible at Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano," 11 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'earthquake.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of earthquake

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for earthquake

Last Updated

12 Apr 2019

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The first known use of earthquake was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for earthquake



English Language Learners Definition of earthquake

: a shaking of a part of the Earth's surface that often causes great damage


earth·​quake | \ ˈərth-ˌkwāk How to pronounce earthquake (audio) \

Kids Definition of earthquake

: a shaking or trembling of a portion of the earth

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Comments on earthquake

What made you want to look up earthquake? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an enemy or opponent

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