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

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 So, naturally, the emotional release was tectonic, right? Michael Lerseth, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 Nov. 2021 During this time, the researchers focused on mapping the seafloor, exploring tectonic processes, measuring heat flow, sampling microbes, and geophysics of the hydrothermal vents in the Gulf, a statement reports. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Nov. 2021 Geothermal energy, a result of Iceland’s unique positioning on two tectonic planets, is plentiful on the island. Esha Chhabra, Forbes, 30 Oct. 2021 But underlying the warm greetings Friday in Rome was a tectonic fissure among the Catholic faithful in the United States that has been exacerbated by Biden’s presidency. Brian Bennett, Time, 29 Oct. 2021 Pakistan sits where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates collide, thus making the country more prone to earthquakes. Naledi Ushe, PEOPLE.com, 7 Oct. 2021 In a tectonic roar, the Juan de Fuca plate slipped past the North American plate, and a roughly 9.0-magnitude earthquake rattled the entire region. Max G. Levy, Wired, 23 Sep. 2021 The tightly interlocking lines in Judith M. Pratt’s abstract drawing-paintings suggest tectonic faults and topographical maps, which the local artist intends. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 The Indonesian archipelago’s roughly 17,000 islands arc across 3,000 miles of tropical waters and a tectonic fault line, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, which sprouts 147 volcanoes, 76 of them active. WSJ, 28 Aug. 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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The first known use of tectonic was in 1894

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tectonic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tectonic. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for tectonic



English Language Learners Definition of tectonic

: of or relating to changes in the structure of the Earth's surface
: having a large and important effect


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