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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:56 pm

• tsunami •

Pronunciation: su-nah-mee • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A "tidal" wave, a gigantic seismic wave caused by a cataclysmic impact on the ocean, such as a landslide, meteorite, earthquake, or volcano. The impact emits enormous vibrations just beneath the ocean surface that create waves 40 feet high or higher when they collide with land.

Notes: Tsunami is today's word, but not at all a good one. It is a word that means widespread pain and suffering. Major tsunamis hit countries like Japan, Indonesia, Nicaragua, and Peru in the 1990s. The actual size of a tsunami is relative to the impact that causes it. In 1958 a landslide of about 40 million cubic yards of rock and earth set off a megatsunami 1720 feet high in remote Lituya Bay, Alaska. Anything like or related to a tsunami is tsunamic, which implies an adverb, tsunamically.

In Play: We have, unfortunately, seen and heard this word in play too much. In 2004 tsunamis from a submarine earthquake off the coast of Sumatra pounded hundreds of beaches throughout Southeast Asia and as far west as India. In 2011 a tsunami hit Japan 231 miles north of Tokyo killing 15,884 people.

Word History: Today's word comes directly from a Japanese compound noun made up of tsu "port, harbor" + nami "wave". These "harbor waves" have been confused with tidal waves in the past. They have nothing to do with tides or harbors, however, but are caused by enormous impacts on the ocean as described above.
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Re: Tsunami

Postby gwray » Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:52 am

I do not wish to cheapen the suffering of those who have experienced loss as a result of a literal tsunami. However, to me, the word does not connote "widespread pain and suffering" but rather a sense of being overwhelmed. I think the following sentences use "tsunami" in a legitimate metaphorical sense to provide a vivid image.

After his convincing win, the new quarterback emerged from the locker room to a tsunami of autograph hounds.

Steve was unprepared for the tsumani of emotions as he held his new granddaughter for the first time.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver Proverbs 25:11

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Re: Tsunami

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:00 pm

Overwhelmed: makes sense.
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