tsu·​na·​mi (t)su̇-ˈnä-mē How to pronounce tsunami (audio)
plural tsunamis also tsunami
: a great sea wave produced especially by submarine earth movement or volcanic eruption : tidal wave
tsunamic adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Jefferson Jay is a tsunami in the local music world. Diane Bellcolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Nov. 2022 This case was heartbreaking and tragic and was a tsunami of emotions. Glenn Garner, Peoplemag, 5 Nov. 2022 The release of McCarthy's vision for his caucus comes amid what strategists and lawmakers of both parties have suggested is a turning of the midterm tide away from what was expected to be a red tsunami earlier this year. Jessie Dimartino, ABC News, 23 Sep. 2022 The decision came in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan that was triggered by an earthquake and tsunami, raising new concerns about the safety of nuclear power. Mark Chediak, Fortune, 1 Sep. 2022 The massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the Fukushima plant destroyed cooling systems that triggered meltdowns in three of its reactors. Frank Jordans And Hanna Arhirova, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Aug. 2022 The accident was caused by an earthquake and tsunami that knocked out power needed to cool the reactors. Peter Landers, WSJ, 24 Aug. 2022 Japan has kept most of its nuclear plants idled in the decade since a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Reuters, NBC News, 24 Aug. 2022 After an earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused an accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011, the NRC implemented short-term and long-term programs to enhance safety at facilities in the United States. CNN, 2 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tsunami.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Japanese, from tsu harbor + nami wave

First Known Use

1896, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tsunami was in 1896

Dictionary Entries Near tsunami

Cite this Entry

“Tsunami.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tsunami. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


tsu·​na·​mi (t)su̇-ˈnäm-ē How to pronounce tsunami (audio)
: a great sea wave produced especially by an earthquake or volcanic eruption under the sea : tidal wave

More from Merriam-Webster on tsunami

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