noun (used with a singular verb)
the science or art of assembling, shaping, or ornamenting materials in construction; the constructive arts in general.

1625–35; see tectonic, -ics

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World English Dictionary
tectonics (tɛkˈtɒnɪks)
1.  the art and science of construction or building
2.  See also plate tectonics the study of the processes by which the earth's crust has attained its present structure

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1899 in the geological sense, from tectonic (also see -ics); earlier it meant "building or constructive arts in general" (1850).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
tectonics   (těk-tŏn'ĭks)  Pronunciation Key 
The branch of geology that deals with the broad structural and deformational features of the outer part of the Earth, their origins, and the relationships between them. See more at plate tectonics.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
In between come explanations of geology and plate tectonics.
Without plate tectonics, life might never have survived here.
Plate tectonics cause sedimentary layers to be pushed down, folded over, and
  pushed up.
Climate, volcanism, plate tectonics all played a key role in regulating the
  oxygen level during various time periods.
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