Difference between tidal wave and tsunami

What’s the difference between a tidal wave and a tsunami? Are they synonyms? Is there some technical difference between the two as used by meteorologists and/or other people in fields related to such phenomenon?


There is no difference between the popular use of the phrase “tidal wave” and the current term used by the scientific community, “tsunami.”
Tidal wave had occurred in English on a few occasions in the 19th century in connection with tidal bores and similar phenomena. In the 1870s, A reference appears in the 1919 OED citing an 1870s usage of a “tidal wave” that struck Lisbon, but the notation is that the usage was erron. Nevertheless, the phrase caught on and was used through much of the twentieth century.

A number of earth scientists decided in the 1960s to use the earlier Japanese word tsunami to identify that particular phenomenon and the news media began picking up the “scientific” term in the 1970s until it has, today, pretty well supplanted the phrase “tidal wave.”

One is caused by the tides, one is caused by geological means.

There has been some “discussion” of the topic in the thread So, has “tidal wave” gone the way of “brontosaurus” (literally & lexicographically)?

And, BTW, * tsunami * is Japanese for “harbor wave”.

They tried it with;
Seagull (gull).
Starfish (seastar).
Uranus (your un us, not the more proper your anus).
And many more.
Just keep saying “tidal wave”, and they’ll give up.
mangeorge (tireless defender of language.)

Straight from the NOAA.