synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of earthquake in English

English Online Dictionary. What means earthquake‎? What does earthquake mean?



From Middle English erthequake, erd-quake, corresponding to earth +‎ quake. Compare similar formations in eorþbeofung (earthquake, literally earth-bevering/earth-trembling), eorþdyne (earthquake, literally earth-din), eorþstyrung (earthquake, literally earth-stirring), eorþhrērness (earthquake, literally earth-stirring).


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈɜːθkweɪk/
  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈɝθkweɪk/


earthquake (plural earthquakes)

  1. A shaking of the ground, caused by volcanic activity or movement around geologic faults. [from 14th c.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.2:
      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, Declan Walsh, The Guardian, 6 Oct 2006:
      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 and Yosio Nakamura, “A seismic risk for the lunar base” in The Second Conference on Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century, Vol. 1, p. 231-233, NASA:
      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.


Derived terms

Related terms

  • moonquake
  • seaquake
  • starquake


See also

  • aftershock
  • earthquake engineering
  • fault line
  • Richter scale
  • seismic
  • seismograph
  • seismologist
  • seismology
  • tremor
  • tsunami

Further reading

  • earthquake on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
  • Tectonic hazards/Earthquake on Wikiversity.Wikiversity
  • Category:Animations of earthquake impact on Wikimedia Commons.Wikimedia Commons


  • heartquake

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.