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Earthquake tsunami wave animation.


From Middle English erthequake, corresponding to earth +‎ quake. Displaced Middle English eorð byfung (earthquake) from Old English eorþbeofung (literally earth shaking).



earthquake (plural earthquakes)

  1. A shaking of the ground, caused by volcanic activity or movement around geologic faults. [from 14th c.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book III, Canto II”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC:
      Her alablaster brest she soft did kis, / Which all that while shee felt to pant and quake, / As it an Earth-quake were: at last she thus bespake.
    • 2006 October 6, Declan Walsh, The Guardian:
      Last year's earthquake crushed his house, his livelihood and very nearly his leg, he said, pointing to a plastered limb that refuses to heal.
  2. (planetary geology) Such a quake specifically occurring on the planet Earth, as opposed to other celestial bodies. [from 20th c.]
    • 1988, Jürgen Oberst, Yosio Nakamura, “A seismic risk for the lunar base”, in The Second Conference on Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century, volume 1, NASA, pages 231–233:
      Since the response of some man-made structures to the ground motion near the epicenter is highly dependent on frequency, a significant difference in potential damage to the structures is expected between earthquakes and moonquakes.
    • 2006, Bruce A. Bolt, Earthquakes, Fifth Edition:
      The wave patterns, too, are strikingly different: The secondary (S) waves and surface waves on lunar seismograms are not generally as clearly defined and distinct as are those of earthquakes.
  3. (figuratively) A sudden and intense upheaval; a severely disruptive event.
    • 2019 July 11, John Thornhill, “Does tech threaten to rerun the worst of the Industrial Revolution?”, in Financial Times[1]:
      As we have seen, economic earthquakes often result in political shockwaves. [] He highlights a correlation between those states with the highest robot density and those states that unexpectedly swung behind Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, namely Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.


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earthquake (third-person singular simple present earthquakes, present participle earthquaking, simple past and past participle earthquaked)

  1. (intransitive) To undergo an earthquake.
    • 1993, Gyeorgos C. Hatonn, The Best of Times: The Worst of Times, page 129:
      Watch the Philippines very closely for the next little while. There is rumbling and earthquaking deep within Pinatubo and increased earthquaking within Mayon.

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Borrowed from English earthquake; compare yirdquauk.


earthquake (plural earthquakes)

  1. earthquake
    Synonym: yirdquauk