word-forming element meaning "earthquake," from Greek seismos "a shaking, shock; an earthquake," also "an extortion" (compare colloquial shake (someone) down), from seiein "to shake, agitate, sway; to quake, shiver" from PIE root *twei- "to agitate, shake, toss; excite; sparkle" (also source of Sanskrit tvesati "to excite; to be excited, inflame, sparkle," and Avestan words for "fears" and "fright, danger").

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