tec·​ton·​ic | \ tek-ˈtä-nik How to pronounce tectonic (audio) \

Definition of tectonic

1 : of or relating to tectonics
2 : having a strong and widespread impact a tectonic shift in voting patterns

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Other Words from tectonic

tectonically \ tek-​ˈtä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce tectonically (audio) \ adverb

Examples of tectonic in a Sentence

There has been a recent tectonic shift in voting patterns. a tectonic shift in societal trends occurred in the 1960s
Recent Examples on the Web Even dearly departed RuGirls can cause a tectonic shift in the Werk Room from beyond the grave. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, "Alexis Mateo finds secret note from India Ferrah in new Drag Race clip," 9 July 2020 The landscape of the league, however, underwent a tectonic shift when news broke that Mahomes had agreed to a record-setting 10-year extension. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "10 NFL stars next in line to land huge contracts: Deshaun Watson, Dak Prescott on deck," 9 July 2020 Steve Mirsky has been writing the Anti Gravity column since a typical tectonic plate was about 36 inches from its current location. Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, "How Nature Helps Body and Soul," 27 June 2020 Steve Mirsky has been writing the Anti Gravity column since a typical tectonic plate was about 36 inches from its current location. Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, "How Nature Helps Body and Soul," 27 June 2020 The earthquake hit a quake-prone region of Mexico where four underground tectonic plates come together. Fox News, "Mexico earthquake death toll rises, worker at oil refinery dies after falling from plant structure," 24 June 2020 On Monday, GNS Science, a New Zealand research institute, launched an interactive website with two new maps showing Zealandia’s tectonic profile, along with its shape against the ocean floor. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "The Lost Continent of Zealandia Disappeared Millions of Years Ago — but These New Maps Show It in Stunning Detail," 24 June 2020 During this time, the Pacific Plate -- the world's largest tectonic plate -- is believed to have sank below the continental crust of Zealandia. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Maps reveal new details about New Zealand's lost underwater continent," 23 June 2020 Mexico rides atop the North American tectonic plate. National Geographic, "Why the Oaxaca earthquake made buildings sway hundreds of miles away," 23 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tectonic.' 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 tectonic

1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tectonic

probably borrowed from German tektonisch "pertaining to broader structural features of the earth's crust," earlier "of building or construction," borrowed from Late Latin tectonicus "of a builder or architect," borrowed from Greek tektonikós "of a carpenter, skilled in carpentry or building," from tekton-, téktōn "woodworker, carpenter, craftsman" + -ikos -ic entry 1; téktōn going back to Indo-European *tetḱ-on- (whence also Sanskrit takṣan-, tákṣā "carpenter," Avestan tašan-, tašā "builder, creator"), n-stem derivative from a verbal base *tetḱ- "fashion, produce," whence Sanskrit tákṣati "(s/he) fashions, builds from wood," Avestan tāšt "(s/he) forms," Latvian tešu, tèst "to hew," Old Church Slavic tešǫ, tesati "to hew, fell," (with o-grade) Lithuanian tašýti "to hew"

Note: A root of the form *tetḱ- would be peculiar for Indo-European. Helmut Rix, et al., (Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben, 2. Ausgabe, Wiesbaden, 2001) rescue the situation by hypothesizing that *tetḱ- represents a pre-Indo-European reduplicated aorist, *te-tḱ-, of a root *teḱ-, seen in unreduplicated form in Greek téknon "child, young of an animal" and étekon, tekeîn, aorist of tíktō, tíktein "to give birth to, beget, generate" (see dystocia). However—aside from the certain correspondence of Greek téktōn with Vedic Sanskrit takṣan-, Avestan tašan- —all other outcomes of this supposed root can be accounted for as *teḱ-s-, an extended form of *teḱ-. To explain this anomaly, Andrew Sihler (New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin, Oxford, 1995, p. 225) hypothesizes that téktōn is a conflation of a regular derivative *texōn and an unattested agentive derivative *téktōr, going back to *teks-tor-, (with cluster simplification as in hektós "sixth" corresponding to héx "six"). Traditionally added to the compared forms given in the etymology above are Latin texere "to weave, form by plaiting or twining, construct" and other words (see at text entry 1). See also technical entry 1.

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Time Traveler for tectonic

Time Traveler

The first known use of tectonic was in 1894

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Last Updated

20 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tectonic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tectonic. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce tectonic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tectonic

geology : of or relating to changes in the structure of the Earth's surface
: having a large and important effect

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