[ tef-ruh ]
/ ˈtɛf rə /

noun (used with a plural verb)

clastic volcanic material, as scoria, dust, etc., ejected during an eruption.

Origin of tephra

First recorded in 1960–65, tephra is from the Greek word téphra (singular) ashes
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for tephra


/ (ˈtɛfrə) /


mainly US solid matter ejected during a volcanic eruption

Word Origin for tephra

C20: Greek, literally: ashes
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 tephra


[ tĕfrə ]

Solid matter, such as ash, dust, and cinders, that is ejected into the air by an erupting volcano. Tephra is a general term for all pyroclastic materials ejected from a volcano.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.