Definition of tsunami in US English:



  • 1A long high sea wave caused by an earthquake, submarine landslide, or other disturbance.

    • ‘Eathquakes and killer tsunamis have wreaked havoc in various parts of the world time and again.’
    • ‘Hollywood celebrities have donated large sums of money to survivors of the tsunami disaster, via some of the big relief agencies that are currently working in South Asia.’
    • ‘The southern coast took the main brunt of Sunday's massive earthquake-generated tsunamis.’
    • ‘More than a million children have lost their families in the tsunami.’
    • ‘Earthquakes and tsunamis of those proportions have hit us in the past as we do live in a very vulnerable part of the world, on a tectonic plate.’
    • ‘Thousands are still missing in the nine countries hit by the tsunamis.’
    • ‘There were no reports of damage or injuries, and the earthquake did not trigger a tsunami.’
    • ‘The second or third wave is usually the biggest, and some tsunamis have divided into seven or more waves.’
    • ‘Earthquakes and tsunamis are not the only natural disasters in need of better forecasting.’
    • ‘The majority of the damage and death came from a series of four huge tsunamis triggered by the eruption.’
    • ‘A tsunami is not just one wave but a series of waves, much like dropping a rock into a pool of water.’
    • ‘Many people refer to tsunamis as tidal waves, but scientists do not use this term to describe the phenomenon.’
    • ‘The Asian tsunami is the greatest humanitarian disaster in recent world history.’
    • ‘The tsunami was caused by an earthquake and was unrelated to climate change.’
    • ‘Other destructive historical earthquakes and tsunamis have been smaller.’
    • ‘Data on coastal flooding resulting from these tsunamis has been used to develop models of individual tsunamis.’
    • ‘Another rare event that may result from a tsunami is a standing wave or seiche.’
    • ‘Authorities in Indonesia now believe as many as 130,000 people were killed in the Boxing Day tsunamis.’
    • ‘When such big undersea earthquakes do strike, giant tidal waves, given the name tsunamis by the Japanese, are sure to follow.’
    • ‘In the days since tsunami struck, newspaper reportage suggests a growing acknowledgement that disaster affects different groups of people differently.’
    1. 1.1 An arrival or occurrence of something in overwhelming quantities or amounts.
      ‘a tsunami ofdata pours into the CNBC newsroom every minute of every trading day’
      • ‘We've been hit by a tsunami of gloom and doom.’
      • ‘The throng of fans filled the Royal Albert Hall with tsunamis of applause.’
      • ‘Talk to teachers today, and you'll hear about their struggle to cope with a veritable tsunami of students pouring into school each year.’
      • ‘Satire finally came to the fore in American political life, unleashing a tsunami of politically-charged ridicule and invective that has changed the republic forever.’
      • ‘There's just a tsunami of books that have come out: it's that time of the year when publishers pump out whatever they consider to be noteworthy.’
      • ‘We have observed - and the unending tsunami of American Idol contestants bears this pet theory out - that every human being believes that they are a great singer.’
      • ‘There isn't enough cash to deal with tsunami of demand coming from demographic, technological and pharmaceutical sectors.’
      • ‘For both traditional and interactive agencies, buying media through these exchanges may offer a way to float RFPs and insertion orders without a tsunami of faxes, e-mails or wasted paper.’
      • ‘Zadie Smith's 2000 debut novel White Teeth was published to a tsunami of critical acclaim.’
      • ‘The film was released just prior to the enforcement of the Hays Code and thus escaped censorship despite a veritable tsunami of erotic images and motifs.’
      • ‘A tsunami of publicity has swept him off his feet and now he has become fleetingly notorious, courted until the interest fades.’
      • ‘He looks young and damn fine in a classic three-piece blue suit and black trenchcoat, just riding that tsunami of bad 70s cinema fashion without being crushed.’
      • ‘Disappointed customers unleashed a tsunami of emails asking, nay begging, for another chance to secure a bargain.’
      • ‘With the tsunami of holiday movies comes another batch of soundtrack discs.’
      • ‘Amid the tsunami of indignant emails were a couple of noteworthy contributions.’
      • ‘Step Into Liquid is a surfing documentary that offers a satisfactory amount of thrills within a tsunami of platitudes and hyperbole.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the company is going to face a horrible tsunami of lawsuits.’
      • ‘In the past year Walston's farm had been hit by a tsunami of animal pests unlike anything he had known in his lifetime.’
      • ‘The corporate crime wave that followed the great bull market of the '90s has spawned a tsunami of its own in books and movies, critical of capitalism's greed.’
      • ‘Nothing I heard or saw on my travels offered a single, practical clue about how to turn back the global tsunami of anti-Americanism.’


Late 19th century: from Japanese, from tsu ‘harbor’ + nami ‘wave’.