earth·​quake | \ˈərth-ˌkwāk \

Definition of earthquake 

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

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Examples of earthquake in a Sentence

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

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In California things are small because of earthquakes, here everything is huge. Daniel I. Dorfman,, "Shout Out: Brandon Pearce, Californian transplanted in Winnetka," 11 July 2018 Think earthquakes — one after another after another, jolting the landscape of international relations and leaving behind ever-greater chaos. Heather Hurlburt, Daily Intelligencer, "There Is No Cleaning Up the Foreign Policy Mess Trump Is Making," 11 July 2018 Being prepared for a fire, earthquake, flood or other disaster means including small and large animals in an evacuation plan. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Preparing for a disaster could save an animal's life," 29 June 2018 In a sign of the pope’s attention to ordinary people’s suffering, Monsignor Giuseppe Petrocchi , the archbishop of L’Aquila, an Italian mountain town devastated by a 2009 earthquake, was among the newest cardinals. Washington Post, "Pope to 14 new cardinals: Defend the dignity of the poor," 28 June 2018 El Salvador was designated for the program in 2001 after an earthquake, and the country’s status was repeatedly renewed. Sudhin Thanawala, The Seattle Times, "Lawsuit over temporary immigration status moves forward," 25 June 2018 Likewise, geologic activity in the planet’s core, earthquakes, ocean currents, and seasonal wind changes can also speed up or slow down Earth’s rotation. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The summer solstice is Thursday: 6 things to know about the longest day of the year," 19 June 2018 Yesterday was a real earthquake to release that pressure. New York Times, "Mexico Delivers Another Defeat to the Status Quo in Latin America," 2 July 2018 Medina was killed May 12, 2015, in a helicopter crash during a humanitarian mission when an earthquake hit Nepal, along with five other Marines and two soldiers from Nepal's army. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora honors heroes for 'friendship, bravery and commitment' during Memorial Day service, parade," 28 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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Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for earthquake

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

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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 \

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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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