tectonic

adjective
tec·​ton·​ic | \ tek-ˈtä-nik \

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 \ 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

The tunnel is engineered to withstand a once-in-2,500 year earthquake, when tectonic plates slip in the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times, "What will the Highway 99 tunnel opening mean for bus routes, detours and tsunamis? We answer those questions and more," 12 Dec. 2018 The earth’s mantle consists of an interlocking puzzle of tectonic plates. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Earth’s Crust Is Swallowing Way More Ocean Than We Thought," 15 Nov. 2018 The civil rights movement had a tectonic effect on the American political landscape, sorting black voters into the Democratic Party and pushing racially conservative white Southerners to defect to the GOP. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The midterm elections revealed that America is in a cold civil war," 7 Nov. 2018 Mexico’s western coast is a tectonic plate boundary, where the oceanic plate collides with and dives beneath the continent. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "2017 earthquake off Mexico broke through an entire tectonic plate," 4 Oct. 2018 Underneath the surface of Earth is a molten-hot mantle upon which our landmasses (tectonic plates) float. Brian Resnick, Vox, "NASA is landing on Mars for the first time since 2012. You can watch!," 23 Nov. 2018 California fault line is 'tectonic time bomb' for disastrous earthquake, researchers say. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Intense manhunt in Waffle House shooting; Trump to play hardball with North Korea," 23 Apr. 2018 However, beneath statements about NATO’s unity and indispensability — and the alarm over Trump — the alliance is arguably undergoing a tectonic shift, and Trump may be as much its manifestation as its cause. John Hudson, Washington Post, "U.S. assessing cost of keeping troops in Germany as Trump battles with Europe," 30 June 2018 However, beneath statements about NATO's unity and indispensability - and the alarm over Trump - the alliance is arguably undergoing a tectonic shift, and Trump may be as much its manifestation as its cause. chicagotribune.com, "U.S. assessing cost of keeping troops in Germany as Trump battles with Europe," 29 June 2018

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

Late Latin tectonicus, from Greek tektonikos of a builder, from tektōn builder — more at technical

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Dictionary Entries near tectonic

tectofugal

tectogene

Tectona

tectonic

tectonics

tectonism

tectonite

Statistics for tectonic

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for tectonic

The first known use of tectonic was in 1894

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More Definitions for tectonic

tectonic

adjective

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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