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

Examples of tsunami in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There still may not be enough younger buyers who can afford to purchase a home when the silver tsunami starts. Bysydney Lake, Fortune, 9 Nov. 2023 Godzilla’s appearance on Japanese shores evokes the 2011 Fukushima tsunami, and its beam of atomic fire vomits out like an industrial accident; the mauling of Tokyo becomes a slow-rolling disaster of infrastructure and mass death. Asher Elbein, Scientific American, 3 Nov. 2023 But the ensuing tsunami of spandex proved to be too much of a good thing, and the demands of churning out so much programming taxed the Marvel apparatus. Tatiana Siegel, Variety, 1 Nov. 2023 That simulation also showed a wave crest reaching the coast first, contradicting historical accounts that the water first receded at that point before the tsunami rushed in. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 27 Oct. 2023 In some respects, the current tsunami of investment in generative AI seems surprising. James Manyika and Michael Spence, Foreign Affairs, 24 Oct. 2023 While previous peace efforts had failed, the overwhelming impetus for a settlement came finally from an unlikely quarter when the tsunami of December 2004 devastated Aceh province, killing 170,000 people, making 500,000 homeless and prompting the combatants to return to negotiations. Alan Cowell, New York Times, 16 Oct. 2023 Tokyo recently allocated 6 trillion yen ($41 billion) over 10 years for a detailed disaster preparedness Tokyo Resilience Project, which incorporates lessons learned after the 2011 tsunami. Cameron Pugh, The Christian Science Monitor, 5 Oct. 2023 The team is in Japan to inspect the collection and processing of seawater, sediment and fish samples from the area of the plant, which was damaged by a major earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 that knocked out its cooling systems and caused three reactors to melt. Mari Yamaguchi The Associated Press, Arkansas Online, 21 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tsunami.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 28 Nov. 2023.

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

Japanese, from tsu "harbor" + nami "wave"

More from Merriam-Webster on tsunami

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