from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Geology Relating to, causing, or resulting from structural deformation of the earth's crust.
  • adj. Relating to construction or building.
  • adj. Architectural.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. of or relating to construction or to architecture
  • adj. of, relating to, or caused by large-scale movements of the Earth's lithosphere

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to building or construction; architectural.
  • adj. Structural.
  • adj. Of, pert. to, or designating, the rock structures and external forms resulting from the deformation of the earth's crust.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In geology, relating to structure; structural: as, tectonic geology (structural geology); tectonic valleys, valleys due to geologic structure rather than to erosion.
  • Of or pertaining to building or construction.

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

  • adj. pertaining to the structure or movement of the earth's crust
  • adj. of or pertaining to construction or architecture


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Late Latin tectonicus, from Greek tektonikos, from tektōn, builder; see teks- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1650s, in sense of building, from Late Latin tectonicus, from Ancient Greek pertaining to building (tektonikos), from Ancient Greek τέκτων (tekton, "carpenter, joiner, maker"), from Proto-Indo-European *tek- (“to make”) (from which also texture). In sense of geology, attested 1894. Surface analysis is τέκτων (tekton) +‎ -ic (“pertaining to”).


  • But increasingly, there are observers and thinkers who say that the world is in the middle of what they call a tectonic shift in the way that we work - which creates the economy - and technology has made it possible to do more or build more steel, make more cars or shoes, grow more food with fewer people.

    NPR Topics: News

  • It's funny you should say that, because I recently heard from John Dewey, who is a very important figure in tectonic plate theory.

    When the Earth Flexes Its Muscles

  • There was a recent discovery in human terms that the earth a surface is broken up into these enormous plates called tectonic plates, tectonic sort of a Greek word that means build or builder.

    CNN Transcript Oct 8, 2005

  • What's more, many layers had been previously cracked by long-term tectonic movements in the area.

    U.S. News

  • And just as earthquakes are the expression of tectonic pressures that build slowly over decades, there were unseen forces in the cultural history of Japan that laid the groundwork for Glaxo-SmithKline’s remarkable success.

    Crazy Like Us

  • The swarm events are likely the result of slip on pre-existing faults and are called tectonic earthquakes and are not thought to be caused by underground movement of magma.

    Archive of Yellowstone Updates for 2010

  • The name came from the idea of tectonic plates colliding, he says, which represents Tecktonik's different dance styles coming together.

    The Turf War Over a Dance Craze

  • The Earth's crust is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, broken into several pieces known as tectonic plates that constantly bump and grind or slide past each other.

    The Full Feed from

  • Our planet is made up of giant slabs of rocky material called tectonic plates that are constantly creeping along.

  • The ground beneath your feet may feel rigid and unmovable, but the Earth's thin, outer crust is broken into large slabs called tectonic plates.



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  • Seen here, "Teutonic plates." Love it.

    August 24, 2011