tsu·​na·​mi | \(t)su̇-ˈnä-mē \
plural tsunamis also tsunami

Definition of tsunami 

: a great sea wave produced especially by submarine earth movement or volcanic eruption : tidal wave

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Other Words from tsunami

tsunamic \ (t)su̇-​ˈnä-​mik \ adjective

Examples of tsunami in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Two weeks ago, an earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia killed more than 1,000 people. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "Why disaster relief is so hard," 15 Oct. 2018 And in Matsushima, Maya ran into an old colleague who’d lost her entire family in the tsunami: a husband, two children, and both parents. Adam H. Graham, Condé Nast Traveler, "Slow Skiing in Japan's Deep North," 11 Oct. 2018 Eighteen thousand people died in the tsunami that caused the disaster, and more than 160,000 people were relocated in the aftermath of the reactor meltdowns, according to Reuters. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Japan acknowledges first radiation-linked death out of Fukushima," 5 Sep. 2018 Her boss is this man who is larger than life, and young people can get swept up in a tsunami of romance. Misha Berson, The Seattle Times, "Actor Daniel Gerroll on performing with Prince Charles and his upcoming role at Seattle’s ACT Theatre," 4 Sep. 2018 In a tsunami of bad news for the President just on Thursday, it was reported that the National Enquirer's parent company had paid off a doorman at one of his properties to keep quiet a rumor that the President had sired an illegitimate child. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Comey paints unsparing portrait of Trump in devastating tell-all book," 13 Apr. 2018 Along with destructive winds and torrential rain, the system generated a meteotsunami, a tsunami-like surge of waves and water along the Atlantic coast triggered by rapid changes in air pressures, according to the Post’s Capital Weather Gang. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, "‘It was relentless’: Surge of rainwater floods streets, submerges cars in Maryland," 16 May 2018 No sirens sounded in tsunami-vulnerable places like Seward or Kodiak. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Tsunami warning that wasn’t: Alaska emergency authorities investigate test that went awry," 11 May 2018 When there's a significant earthquake at sea or on an island, a tsunami is possible. Dakin Andone, CNN, "Hawaii residents on Big Island under threat of lava, earthquakes and gas," 5 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of tsunami

1896, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tsunami

Japanese, from tsu harbor + nami wave

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Statistics for tsunami

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for tsunami

The first known use of tsunami was in 1896

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More Definitions for tsunami



English Language Learners Definition of tsunami

: a very high, large wave in the ocean that is usually caused by an earthquake under the sea and that can cause great destruction when it reaches land


tsu·​na·​mi | \su̇-ˈnä-mē \

Kids Definition of tsunami

: a large sea wave produced especially by an earthquake or volcanic eruption under the sea : tidal wave

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