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The term tsunami, meaning "harbor wave" in literal translation, comes from the Japanese 津波, composed of the two kanji 津 (tsu) meaning "harbour" and 波 (nami), meaning "wave". (For the plural, one can either follow ordinary English practice and add an s, or use an invariable plural as in the Japanese.)
There are only a few other languages that have an equivalent native word. In Acehnese language, the words are ië beuna or alôn buluëk (depending on the dialect). In Tamil language, it is aazhi peralai. On Simeulue island, off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia, in Devayan language the word is smong, while in Sigulai language it is emong.
In Singkil (in Aceh province) and surrounding, the people use the word gloro/galoro for tsunami. In Nias language, it is called oloro/galoro and in Ende it is called ae mesi nuka tana lala
Tsunami aftermath in Aceh, Indonesia.
Tsunami are sometimes referred to as tidal waves. This once-popular term derives from the most common appearance of tsunami, which is that of an extraordinarily high tidal bore. Tsunami and tides both produce waves of water that move inland, but in the case of tsunami the inland movement of water may be much greater, giving the impression of an incredibly high and forceful tide. In recent years, the term "tidal wave" has fallen out of favor, especially in the scientific community, because tsunami actually have nothing to do with tides, which are produced by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun rather than the displacement of water. Although the meanings of "tidal" include "resembling" or "having the form or character of" the tides, use of the term tidal wave is discouraged by geologists and oceanographers