[ tek-ton-ik ]
/ tɛkˈtɒn ɪk /


of or relating to building or construction; constructive; architectural.
  1. pertaining to the structure of the earth's crust.
  2. referring to the forces or conditions within the earth that cause movements of the crust.
  3. designating the results of such movements: tectonic valleys.

Origin of tectonic

1650–60; < Late Latin tectonicus < Greek tektonikós pertaining to construction, equivalent to tekton- (stem of téktōn) carpenter + -ikos -ic


tec·ton·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for tectonic

/ (tɛkˈtɒnɪk) /


denoting or relating to construction or building
  1. (of landforms, rock masses, etc) resulting from distortion of the earth's crust due to forces within it
  2. (of processes, movements, etc) occurring within the earth's crust and causing structural deformation

Derived forms of tectonic

tectonically, adverb

Word Origin for tectonic

C17: from Late Latin tectonicus, from Greek tektonikos belonging to carpentry, from tektōn a builder
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

Science definitions for tectonic

[ tĕk-tŏnĭk ]

Relating to the forces involved in plate tectonics or the structural features resulting from them.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.