sub·​duc·​tion (ˌ)səb-ˈdək-shən How to pronounce subduction (audio)
: the action or process in plate tectonics of the edge of one crustal plate descending below the edge of another
subduct verb

Examples of subduction in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These ancient rocks appear to have been made by subduction, when two plates collide to thrust one of them deep into Earth's mantle. Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American, 20 Nov. 2023 And many older kimberlites also emerge around periods of subduction, or continental smash-ups, further muddying the picture, Dr. Janney said. Maya Wei-Haas, New York Times, 26 July 2023 Basic model of a subduction zone, showing how the oceanic crust is shoved underneath the continental crust. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 15 Feb. 2024 Tracing those islands, deep under water, is the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone, a trench where vast plates of hard rock overlap and friction slowly builds. Chuong Nguyen, Ars Technica, 27 Nov. 2023 These mountains are entering the subduction zone and are melting. Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Jan. 2024 As part of the South Atlantic Plate slides under the tiny Sandwich Plate, volcanic islands form as magma rises from the mantle in this subduction zone. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 30 Nov. 2023 But a major earthquake in the Aleutian Islands poses the most risk because the fault there is in a subduction zone — the type most likely to cause a tsunami — and resulting waves would head straight to Central California. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 July 2021 The most astonishing thing about these tests is that Amchitka Island is in the middle of the Aleutian subduction zone, where the Pacific Plate is diving underneath the North American Plate. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 15 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'subduction.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, from Late Latin subduction-, subductio withdrawal, from Latin subducere to withdraw, from sub- + ducere to draw — more at tow entry 1

First Known Use

1970, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of subduction was in 1970

Dictionary Entries Near subduction

Cite this Entry

“Subduction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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