tec·​ton·​ics | \ tek-ˈtä-niks How to pronounce tectonics (audio) \

Definition of tectonics

1 : geologic structural features as a whole
2a : a branch of geology concerned with the structure of the crust of a planet (such as the earth) or moon and especially with the formation of folds and faults in it
b : tectonism

Examples of tectonics in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte’s successful courting of longtime Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer last spring shifted the tectonics of women’s college basketball. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 9 Nov. 2021 Plate tectonics is one of the most romantic theories in all of science. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, 26 Oct. 2021 The Moon Europa, orbiting Jupiter, is also believed to possess similar tectonics. David Bressan, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 Plate tectonics predicts that the boundaries of tectonic plates — where two plates collide, slide over or under one another, grind side by side, or move apart — are where most of the planet’s geologic fireworks can be found. Quanta Magazine, 15 Sep. 2021 The researchers modeled this surface deformation and determined that these tectonics actually match the slow movement of the planet's interior. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 21 June 2021 By studying this pack ice pattern on Venus, researchers could use it to study exoplanets outside of our solar system and even the tectonics that were active on early Earth. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 21 June 2021 Plate tectonics roughly like Earth's might have held sway there, or might be starting today, hidden under the clouds. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, 2 June 2021 Plate tectonics controls pretty much the fact that life exists on Earth. Quanta Magazine, 14 Apr. 2021

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

1899, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tectonics

tecton(ic) + -ics, probably after German Tektonik

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The first known use of tectonics was in 1899

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Last Updated

19 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tectonics.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tectonics. Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for tectonics



English Language Learners Definition of tectonics

: the structure of the Earth's surface and the ways in which it changes shape over time

More from Merriam-Webster on tectonics

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tectonics


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