What's in a Word | All Blogs


Killer wave

By Debra Dobbins

The word “tsunami” is another example of the way English brings foreign words into common usage.

Tsunami is a Japanese word that is pronounced (t)su NAH mee. “Tsu” means harbor and “nami” means wave, according to Webster’s.

Webster’s defines it as, “ a huge sea wave caused by a great disturbance under the ocean, [such] as a strong earthquake or volcanic eruption.”

In December 2004 a tsunami in the Indian Ocean killed more than 200,00 people. Since it struck the day after Christmas, it is sometimes called the Boxing Day tsunami. It definitely packed a horrifying punch.

The ocean unleashes a mighty fury.

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