Definition of earthquake in US English:

earthquake

noun

  • 1A sudden and violent shaking of the ground, sometimes causing great destruction, as a result of movements within the earth's crust or volcanic action.

    Major earthquakes are confined to particular active regions of the earth's crust corresponding to the edges of the crustal plates, and most earthquakes are due to the release of strain energy associated with the relative motions of the plates. The intensity of earthquakes is expressed by the Richter scale, destructive earthquakes generally measuring between about 7 and 9

    • ‘Every year, hundreds of minor earthquakes occur and some are felt in this the region.’
    • ‘We have had small earthquakes that have shaken the earth before, though nothing of that magnitude.’
    • ‘British earthquakes concentrate along a similar north-south belt, with the strongest events in the west.’
    • ‘About twice a year people feel still smaller earthquakes that do not cause damage.’
    • ‘The small country of El Salvador suffered two devastating earthquakes in one month.’
    • ‘Sunday's quake was both an aftershock of last year's tremor, and an earthquake in its own right.’
    • ‘Nine on the Richter scale indicates an earthquake of absolutely awesome destructive power.’
    • ‘This earthquake was the seventh in a series of repeating earthquakes on this stretch of the fault.’
    • ‘It was the end of a week in which the number of earthquakes near the volcano grew significantly.’
    • ‘Tsunamis are waves formed when huge masses of water are displaced by undersea volcanic eruptions or earthquakes.’
    • ‘The violent earthquake unleashed itself under the sea near northern Indonesia on December 26.’
    • ‘A lifetime of earthquakes and landslides and volcanos and floods have changed the landscape as we once knew it.’
    • ‘This displacement manifests itself through destructive earthquakes along the North Anatolian Fault.’
    • ‘When it came to measuring these big earthquakes, the Richter scale fell short.’
    • ‘They are subject to periodic earthquakes and volcanic activity that can destabilize them.’
    • ‘The two earthquakes struck within days of each other, unleashing roughly the same devastating power.’
    • ‘As the plates grind against one another, earthquakes are triggered along the fault.’
    • ‘This is one of the most destructive earthquakes of the twentieth century.’
    • ‘There are worries that there could be an aftershock earthquake, which could trigger another tsunami.’
    • ‘Within days of the earthquake she had been flown out of the country and was back home with her parents.’
    earth tremor, tremor, convulsion, shock, foreshock, aftershock
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A great upheaval.
      ‘a political earthquake’
      • ‘As a political earthquake, the end of the Empire measured right at the top of the Richter scale.’
      • ‘In what period have so many people been so totally exposed at so fast a pace to such earthquakes of change?’
      • ‘The same danger lurks there as caused a political earthquake in France two weeks ago.’
      • ‘They would need to be at least six points ahead of the rest to do that, and that would take a political earthquake.’
      • ‘And I can promise you that we'll be creating a lot more earthquakes of our own at the next General Election.’
      • ‘Zambians rejected all those political earthquakes by the scruff of the neck.’
      • ‘After the break, we'll take a closer look at the man at the epicenter of a political earthquake.’
      • ‘And we seem to be in the midst of one, as if caught up in a social earthquake.’
      • ‘There are two democratic earthquakes happening right now.’
      • ‘Fifteen years ago this Tuesday a political earthquake brought down the Berlin Wall.’
      • ‘This week, the PM was sunning himself in Tuscany when a political earthquake shook Europe.’
      • ‘All of the parties praised the fact that the expected political earthquake had not taken place.’
      • ‘The stop the war movement has been a political earthquake in Britain.’
      upheaval, eruption, turmoil, turbulence, disruption, agitation, disturbance, unrest, disorder, furore, upset, tumult, chaos
      View synonyms

Pronunciation

earthquake

/ˈərTHˌkwāk//ˈərθˌkweɪk/