apoc·​a·​lypse | \ ə-ˈpä-kə-ˌlips How to pronounce apocalypse (audio) \
plural apocalypses

Definition of apocalypse

1a : one of the Jewish and Christian writings of 200 b.c. to a.d. 150 marked by pseudonymity, symbolic imagery, and the expectation of an imminent cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil and raises the righteous to life in a messianic kingdom
b capitalized : revelation sense 3
2a : something viewed as a prophetic revelation
3a : a large, disastrous fire : inferno Most foresters agree that small, "prescribed" burns, carefully controlled, are essential to prevent the larger apocalypse.— Lance Morrow
b : a great disaster an environmental apocalypse

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Examples of apocalypse in a Sentence

His book tells of an environmental apocalypse. the fear that the next global pandemic could be an apocalypse of biblical proportions

Recent Examples on the Web

And as apocalypse seems to close in, all three voice regrets: Rolan and Libby over family matters, and Caroline over not recognizing signs of trouble earlier. (jim Carmody), San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Horror-flick chills hint at larger ills in La Jolla Playhouse’s ambitious and mysterious ‘Put Your House in Order’," 9 June 2019 Social anxiety inspires the popularity of the new race-horror-comedy genre (as well as zombie films and the Game of Thrones’ gothic apocalypse). Armond White, National Review, "Ma’s Black-Mammy Stereotypes Capture the Illiberal Spirit," 7 June 2019 The apocalypse as portrayed by these series is slow, violent and driven by science. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Why TV like 'Good Omens' and 'American Horror Story' wants you to laugh at the apocalypse," 4 June 2019 For the story to feel meaningful, the robo-apocalypse needs to have a larger endgame beyond these small individual goals that each character is pursuing. William Lee, chicagotribune.com, "‘Westworld’ Episode 6 recap: 5 things to know about ‘Phase Space’ and the ghost in the machine," 28 May 2018 The men took the children to the compound in preparation for an apocalypse or in hopes of gaining followers, authorities said. Fox News, "Self-styled prophet who promoted child marriage is sentenced," 9 Aug. 2018 But there’s another kind of continuity between this image and D’Souza’s, both of which glow with something that seems like a cross between the fires of war and the fires of apocalypse. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "To Trump fans, #MAGA is more than a slogan. It’s an aesthetic.," 8 Aug. 2018 But the apocalypse is also halted with big thanks to Nick, who sacrifices himself when the original trap for the Dark Lord doesn't work. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," 10 Apr. 2019 Moreover, actress Adina Porter dropped her own little kernel about what the apocalypse means during an interview with Golden Derby. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "American Horror Story: Apocalypse: Everything We Know So Far," 4 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apocalypse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of apocalypse

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for apocalypse

Middle English Apocalipse "Revelation (the New Testament book)," borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Late Latin apocalypsis "revelation, the Book of Revelation," borrowed from Greek apokálypsis "uncovering, disclosure, revelation," from apokalyp-, stem of apokalýptein "to uncover, disclose, reveal" (from apo- apo- + kalýptein "to cover, protect, conceal," of uncertain origin) + -sis -sis

Note: Greek kalýptein is associated in older handbooks with Indo-European *ḱel- "conceal" (see conceal), though neither the vocalism nor the supposed extension *-up- are easily explicable.

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Statistics for apocalypse

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for apocalypse

The first known use of apocalypse was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of apocalypse

: a great disaster : a sudden and very bad event that causes much fear, loss, or destruction

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