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


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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 Haiti and Japan both were hit with the largest earthquakes ever to strike those countries. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "The 2010s were relentless. Here are some of the most fascinating news stories that shaped the decade," 30 Dec. 2019 Suddenly the earth began began to rattle, with the earthquake knocking out power in the stadium and causing the concrete pillars to sway. Rachel Swan,, "Famed local hot dog vendor, who always sold food the old-fashioned way, dies at 49," 28 Dec. 2019 The explosions shook nearby houses and businesses, causing some east side residents to call the Free Press inquiring about a possible earthquake or gas explosion. Omar Abdel-baqui, Detroit Free Press, "Conners Creek power plant in Detroit demolished with explosives," 13 Dec. 2019 The resulting earthquake will end his leadership of the Labour Party. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Judgment Day U.K.: Tories Win Big," 13 Dec. 2019 But earthquakes were expected in the region, and what happened in Fukushima was foreseeable. The Economist, "Open Future We’re designed to make bad choices but here’s what we can do," 6 Dec. 2019 The logarithm function is well-known in the non-linear scales for energy released during earthquakes (Richter) or for measuring sound (decibels). Christian Yates, Quartz, "Your dog may be older than you think," 4 Dec. 2019 In some cases, entire families were killed in the earthquake. Arkansas Online, "Hopes fade for any more survivors in Albania quake; 46 dead," 28 Nov. 2019 The United Kingdom has moved to put a halt to hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction, but out of concern over potential earthquakes. Nathanial Gronewold, Scientific American, "Planned Fossil Fuel Extraction Would Blow Past Warming Limits," 22 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for earthquake

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for earthquake

Last Updated

4 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Earthquake.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for earthquake


How to pronounce earthquake (audio)

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).


experienced by way of someone else

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