[ suh b-duhk-shuh n ]
/ səbˈdʌk ʃən /


an act or instance of subducting; subtraction or withdrawal.
Geology. the process by which collision of the earth's crustal plates results in one plate's being drawn down or overridden by another, localized along the juncture (subduction zone) of two plates.

Origin of subduction

1570–80; < Latin subductiōn-, stem of subductiō pulling up, computation; see subduct, -ion Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for subduction

  • The lines with barbs show zones of underthrusting (subduction), where one plate is sliding beneath another.

    Volcanoes|Robert I. Tilling
  • And from hence lastly doth arise the solidity of the section, by addition and subduction.

  • Subduction zones are found where one plate overrides, or subducts, another, pushing it downward into the mantle where it melts.

    Earthquakes|Kaye M. Shedlock
  • There are three types of plate boundaries: spreading zones, transform faults, and subduction zones.

    Earthquakes|Kaye M. Shedlock

British Dictionary definitions for subduction


/ (səbˈdʌkʃən) /


the act of subducting, esp of turning the eye downwards
geology the process of one tectonic plate sliding under another, resulting in tensions and faulting in the earth's crust, with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for subduction



early 15c., "withdrawal, removal" (originally of noxious substances from the body), from Latin subductionem (nominative subductio), noun of action from past participle stem of subducere (see subduce). Geological sense is attested from 1970, from French (1951).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for subduction


[ səb-dŭkshən ]

A geologic process in which one edge of one lithospheric plate is forced below the edge of another. The denser of the two plates sinks beneath the other. As it descends, the plate often generates seismic and volcanic activity (from melting and upward migration of magma) in the overriding plate. Compare obduction.
Related formssubduct verb
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.