Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

calamity

play
noun ca·lam·i·ty \kə-ˈla-mə-tē\

Simple Definition of calamity

  • : an event that causes great harm and suffering

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of calamity

plural

calamities

  1. 1 :  a state of deep distress or misery caused by major misfortune or loss

  2. 2 :  a disastrous event marked by great loss and lasting distress and suffering <calamities of nature> <an economic calamity>

Examples of calamity in a sentence

  1. Twenty two years passed. Twenty-two years of excellent health and the boundless self-assurance that flows from being fit—twenty-two years spared the adversary that is illness and the calamity that waits in the wings. —Phillip Roth, Everyman, 2006

  2. A resentment born of the suspicion that all along the media were up to their usual tricks, hyping a national calamity to the max in order to make us buy more copies and tune into TV specials … —Christopher Buckley, Time, 29 Nov. 1999

  3. In the wake of this year's unending calamities, there has been renewed discussion of the need for an international rapid deployment force that can kick down doors to help victims of disasters. —Kathleen Hunt, New York Times Magazine, 28 July 1991

  4. floods, earthquakes, and other calamities

  5. He predicted calamity for the economy.



Origin and Etymology of calamity

Middle English calamytey, from Latin calamitat-, calamitas; perhaps akin to Latin clades destruction


First Known Use: 15th century


CALAMITY Defined for Kids

calamity

play
noun ca·lam·i·ty \kə-ˈla-mə-tē\

Definition of calamity for Students

plural

calamities

  1. 1 :  great distress or misfortune <… he felt oppressed by the vague sense of impending calamity. — Jack London, The Call of the Wild>

  2. 2 :  an event that causes great harm and suffering :  disaster

calamitous

\-təs\ adjective




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up calamity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

different from the usual or normal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

accommodate accomodate acommadate acommodate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ