No, it’s not the latest electro-dance craze from Japan; the word tectonic refers to the earth’s crust and the big hunks of it that shift around.

Even though it’s popular with the geology crowd, tectonic comes from the Greek word for “building.” That can help you remember that the earth’s crust consists of the building blocks we live on — the continents. Tectonic plates are the large sections of the earth’s surface that shift. If you live in a part of the world that sits on the edge of a tectonic plate, like the San Andreas Fault in California, you’ve probably felt an earthquake or two.

Definitions of tectonic
  1. adjective

    pertaining to the structure or movement of the earth’s crust

    tectonic plates”
    tectonic valleys”

  2. adjective

    of or pertaining to construction or architecture


Word Family