Simple Definition of cataclysm
: something that causes great destruction, violence, etc.
Full Definition of cataclysm
cataclysmicallyplay \-mi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
Examples of cataclysm in a sentence
floods, earthquakes, and other cataclysms
The country barely survived the cataclysm of war.
The revolution could result in worldwide cataclysm.
Did You Know?
The -clysm part of cataclysm comes from the Greek word meaning "to wash", so cataclysm's original meaning was "flood, deluge", and especially Noah's Flood itself. A cataclysm causes great and lasting changes. An earthquake or other natural disaster that changes the landscape is one kind of cataclysm, but a violent political revolution may also be a cataclysmic event. Many cataclysms could instead be called catastrophes.
Origin and Etymology of cataclysm
French cataclysme, from Latin cataclysmos, from Greek kataklysmos, from kataklyzein to inundate, from kata- + klyzein to wash — more at clyster
First Known Use: 1599
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