from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A quake of lesser magnitude, usually one of a series, following a large earthquake in the same area.
  • noun A further reaction following the shock of a deeply disturbing occurrence or revelation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An earthquake that follows in the same vicinity as another, usually larger, earthquake (the "mainshock").
  • noun figuratively By extension, any result or consequence following a major event.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a tremor (or one of a series of tremors) occurring after the main shock of an earthquake


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck Virginia on Tuesday gives new meaning to the word "aftershock."

    News -

  • While the city has been plagued by aftershocks since a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck on Sept. 4, today's aftershock is the second-largest to rock the region and has left the city's residents again reeling.

    New Zealand Rattled by New Quake

  • The word aftershock makes it kind of seem insignificant.

    CNN Transcript Jan 12, 2010

  • How have religious entrepreneurs responded to the second aftershock, which is pushing people—young people especially—away from religion?

    American Grace

  • The first aftershock was followed by an opposite reaction, a second aftershock, which is still reverberating.

    American Grace

  • There was another quake at 7 a.m. this morning, said Somsri Meethong of the Mae Sai District office, referring to an aftershock.

    Strong quake in Myanmar kills more than 60

  • MYERS: No, they're still possible but a-- we just had a 4.8 aftershock, which is a pretty decent quake in itself, especially when you have now -- you have damaged the buildings and a 4.8 can actually make the damaged building fall.

    CNN Transcript Jan 12, 2010

  • The aftershock was the strongest to hit Haiti since last week's original quake, the USGS said.

    Strong aftershock rattles Haitians

  • The aftershock was the second-strongest since a record 9- magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11. -- Top News

  • The first after­shock was followed by an opposite reaction, a second aftershock, which is still reverberating.

    NPR Topics: News


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  • In the early evening Tuesday today, a particularly strong aftershock sent rescuers and residents fleeing from damaged buildings in L’Aquila as chunks of concrete fell from crumbling buildings, The Associated Press reported. The news service quoted the Italian news agency ANSA saying the trembler killed another person; it reported that the United States Geological Survey said the quake measured 5.6, but Italian seismologists put it at 5.3.

    (The New York Times)

    April 8, 2009

  • I'd read yesterday that they measured it at 6.3. Has that been revised?

    April 8, 2009

  • This article refers to the aftershock. The earthquake that killed all those people was 6.3, as far as I know.

    April 8, 2009

  • Interesting use of trembler in the NYT citation. I've never seen/heard it used this way before. It makes some sense although perhaps there is some (understandable, given the root) conflation with tremor.

    April 8, 2009

  • Ah, of course. It's not as though the giant word "aftershock" at the top of this page didn't alert me to that fact. :-\

    I thought "trembler" was odd, too. I've always heard it called temblor.

    April 8, 2009

  • Aftershock is a terrible word when you've just been through an earthquake. 10 letters that keep you awake at night :-(

    October 29, 2009