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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for earthquake


quake, shake, temblor, tremor

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Plus, the city has reliable electricity and isn’t at risk for the hurricanes or earthquakes that threaten the coasts. Ally Marotti,, "Illinois might be more attractive for data centers with potential new tax incentive," 4 June 2019 Other earthquakes have reached as low as 0.8 magnitude. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "Quake swarm unleashes 400 tiny temblors on Southern California. What does it mean?," 4 June 2019 Labrada knows that these are important traits for urban search-and-rescue dogs, who help find people trapped in rubble after disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes. Washington Post, "Real, furry superheroes get their own movie," 4 June 2019 The website also claims these homes are earthquake resistant, and that parts of the house can act like flotation devices in an emergency. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "The Homes in This Village Are Made Using Old Plastic Bottles," 28 May 2019 Natural disasters such as a storms, wildfires, floods and earthquakes have for years reflexively triggered immediate funding relief efforts. WSJ, "Preparing for Disasters Saves Costly Cleanups," 27 May 2019 Advertising The researchers said the inland tsunami points to a massive earthquake generated by the asteroid crash, somewhere between a magnitude 10 and 11. Seth Borenstein, The Seattle Times, "Snapshot of extinction: Fossils show day of killer asteroid," 3 Apr. 2019 According to Babble, the scene was filmed while a minor earthquake was going on. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Every Weird Thing You Never Realized About National Lampoon's 'Christmas Vacation'," 2 Dec. 2018 However, that video was delayed in light of a major earthquake that hit Japan this week. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Nintendo’s promised cloud saves on Switch won’t work for every game [Updated]," 7 Sep. 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.

See More

First Known Use of earthquake

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about earthquake

Statistics for earthquake

Last Updated

7 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for earthquake

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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