apocalypse

noun
apoc·​a·​lypse | \ ə-ˈpä-kə-ˌlips \
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

While the writing for Lincoln's departure may have been on the wall, the news has left stunned viewers asking one question: How could a loner like Daryl Dixon ever become the next leader of the apocalypse? Rachel Cavanaugh, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Walking Dead': Why a Daryl-Aaron Romance Is a Good Idea (Opinion)," 26 June 2018 Maybe the real apocalypse will come in the form of death by a thousand blandly conceived, loud, ’splodey sequels. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "What Pacific Rim: Uprising gains in Jaeger-on-kaiju action, it loses in originality," 21 Mar. 2018 Powered by a miniature nuclear reactor, the apocalypse torpedo also has effectively unlimited range. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Truth Behind Russia’s 'Apocalypse Torpedo'," 18 Jan. 2019 Conjectural nuclear or environmental apocalypse flickers just over the horizon. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "Shall We Have Civil War or Second Thoughts?," 17 Aug. 2018 In the new millennium, politics entered the picture; 2007’s Year Zero, for instance, channeled Bush-era anxiety into an apocalypse tale. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Nine Inch Nails Is Still Pushing the Sound of Catharsis," 22 June 2018 In the lull between blockbusters, the post-apocalypse family drama/horror film A Quiet Place has sneaked into the unexpected position of the second highest-grossing film of the year so far. Aja Romano, Vox, "Why A Quiet Place is the apocalyptic movie America needed," 27 Apr. 2018 But at the same time, despite what the doomsayers say, the information apocalypse is not quite nigh. James Vincent, The Verge, "These faces show how far AI image generation has advanced in just four years," 17 Dec. 2018 When Anna wakes up the next morning, the zombie apocalypse is in full force, and senior year becomes one long, bloody battle for survival. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New trailer for Anna and the Apocalypse promises undead slaying for holidays," 5 Sep. 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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Last Updated

8 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for apocalypse

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

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More Definitions for apocalypse

apocalypse

noun

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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