Friday 11 March 2011


Tsunami is Japanese for harbour waves. Tsu means harbour; and nami means waves, which is why Hokusai's painting The Great Wave Off Kanagawa is called, in Japanese, Kanagawa Oki Nami Ura.

Tsunamis used to be called tidal waves, until somebody pointed out that they weren't tidal.


  1. I wondered why the term tidal waves disappeared from use. The pictures of the waves crashing into Northern Japan were amazing. Hoping the small island nations in the Pacific don't get hit too hard.

  2. Interesting! There's something about deconstructing the etymology in raw phenomena which makes it a tad less frightening.

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