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

Not everyone is convinced 3-D printing and generative design will ramp up the possibility of apocalypse. Matthew Gault, Scientific American, "3-D Printers Could Help Spread Weapons of Mass Destruction," 10 Sep. 2019 Even by the standards of an always-anxious movie business that sees the apocalypse coming around every corner, 2019 has been the summer of Hollywood hand-wringing. David Sims, The Atlantic, "What to Expect at 2019’s Toronto International Film Festival," 5 Sep. 2019 The apocalypse may be coming, but all seems remarkably calm. The Economist, "Kimbanguists believe Congo’s suffering is a sign of the apocalypse," 29 Aug. 2019 Most of the story is set in the western region of an unnamed continent, where everyone is slowly realizing that the apocalypse might be coming. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Everything we know about Amazon's The Wheel of Time adaptation," 14 Aug. 2019 That pain only intensified when Morgan’s son Duane was also lost to the apocalypse. Dalton Ross, EW.com, "Fear the Walking Dead to air nod to first TWD episode," 13 Sep. 2019 In those Cold War years, many Mormons believed the apocalypse was imminent, in the form of a nuclear holocaust. Wired, "The Suburbanites Making the Desert Bloom with McMansions," 12 Sep. 2019 There are plates to remember here, too, though most do not come from the yakitori station, where executive sous chef Shigehisa Yokote and his team apply their shio and tare as if hoarding the seasonings for the coming apocalypse. Washington Post, "Zeppelin is fun, but its sushi doesn’t quite fly," 1 Aug. 2019 Charming Charlie has fallen victim to the ongoing retail apocalypse. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Charming Charlie is closing all of its stores," 12 July 2019

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

4 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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