: something (as a flood or a tornado) that happens suddenly and causes much suffering or loss
Word History of DISASTER
People who experience bad luck are sometimes said to be “star-crossed.” This expression comes from the belief that the position of the stars and planets has a direct influence on earthly events. The origins of the word disaster can be traced to this same belief. Disaster is borrowed from disastro, an Italian word formed from the negative prefix dis- and the noun astro, meaning “star.”Disastro originally referred to an unfortunate event, such as a military defeat, that took place when certain heavenly bodies were in an unlucky position.