fore·​shock ˈfȯr-ˌshäk How to pronounce foreshock (audio)
: any of the usually minor tremors commonly preceding the principal shock of an earthquake

Examples of foreshock in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The patterns seen in the aseismic slip are similar in many ways to the patterns seen in foreshocks—smaller quakes that happen before major temblors. Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American, 20 July 2023 Arica Earthquake and Tsunami August 13, 1868 Death toll: 25,000 On a Thursday afternoon, people living near the borders of Peru and Chile felt foreshocks. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 6 June 2023 One was in China, in 1975, when there were lots and lots of small foreshocks, and all the animals went crazy. ... Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 17 Feb. 2023 What is a foreshock? Clare Mulroy, USA TODAY, 20 Dec. 2022 Continued large aftershocks are likely for days, and there’s a very slight chance — perhaps 1 in 20 or so — that the 7.3 might be a foreshock to a larger quake in the next three days. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2022 Sometimes a foreshock may be identified incorrectly as the mainshock until a larger one occurs after it. Clare Mulroy, USA TODAY, 20 Dec. 2022 Once all was said and done, the July 5 quake was classified as the main shock, the July 4 quake, a foreshock. Madalyn Amato, Los Angeles Times, 12 June 2021 The foreshock and flurry of aftershocks occurred at about the same depth, Jones said. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, 5 Apr. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'foreshock.' 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

1902, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of foreshock was in 1902

Dictionary Entries Near foreshock

Cite this Entry

“Foreshock.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


fore·​shock ˈfō(ə)r-ˌshäk How to pronounce foreshock (audio)
: a minor tremor prior to an earthquake

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