act of God

noun phrase

: an extraordinary interruption by a natural cause (such as a flood or earthquake) of the usual course of events that experience, prescience, or care cannot reasonably foresee or prevent

Examples of act of God in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Barring acts of God, the 2024 election will be another Trump–Biden contest. David Harsanyi, National Review, 25 Jan. 2024 Where people had once pictured doomsday as an act of God’s wrath or final judgment, now a world could could be gone in an instant, with no sacred significance, no story of salvation. Charles Thorpe, Fortune, 1 Aug. 2023 Rather, inflation had arisen from supply chain foul-ups caused by the Covid epidemic, an act of God rendered worse by comic-opera mismanagement under President Donald Trump. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 30 June 2023 But, in the United States, some eighty per cent are thought to be caused not by an act of God but by the recklessness of humans. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, 25 June 2023 Comprehensive insurance covers damage caused by a natural disaster or act of God. Steven Glass, Car and Driver, 9 June 2023 The implosion of the edifice holding back the full force of the Dnipro River was no accident nor an act of God. Noah Rothman, National Review, 6 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'act of God.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1611, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of act of God was in 1611

Dictionary Entries Near act of God

Cite this Entry

“Act of God.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Legal Definition

act of God

often capitalized A
: an extraordinary natural event (as a flood or earthquake) that cannot be reasonably foreseen or prevented compare force majeure, inevitable accident, unavoidable accident

Note: It is a defense against liability for injury if the injury is directly and exclusively caused by an act of God.

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