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 tectonic (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 Basins are depressions in the earth's crust formed mostly by tectonic forces over hundreds of millions of years. Peter Rudden, CNN, 3 May 2021 Several reefs in Belize, for instance, rise from atop a chunk of continental crust that tectonic forces thrust close to the ocean surface. Alexandra Witze, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Mar. 2021 While the region has been in motion ever since tectonic forces lifted the Santa Lucia Mountains to their towering heights above the Pacific millions of years ago, climate change is likely accelerating the wear and tear. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 Feb. 2021 First, scientists gather thousands of rock samples from around the globe, since tectonic plates move over time. Natalie Hamilton, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 June 2021 These events include marine and land extinctions, major volcanic outpourings of lava called flood-basalt eruptions, events when oceans were depleted of oxygen, sea-level fluctuations, and changes or reorganization in the Earth's tectonic plates. David Bressan, Forbes, 23 June 2021 No one can be an expert on all of the components of our planet’s amazing ocean system, from tiny plankton floating in surface currents to tectonic plates spreading and colliding underwater. Suzanne Oconnell, The Conversation, 22 June 2021 Earth is unique because its lithosphere is broken, forming tectonic plates that move against, apart or underneath one another on top of a hot mantle. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 21 June 2021 Willamette Valley offers a geologic study of pinot noir that can trace the origins of the wine in your glass to ancient collisions of Earth’s tectonic plates and floods caused by melting glaciers. Washington Post, 25 June 2021

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

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The first known use of tectonic was in 1894

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Last Updated

21 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tectonic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tectonic. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for tectonic



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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