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 Teen angst should be a seasoning, not the main dish, in a zombie apocalypse. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Still plenty of good TV out there: Captain Comics," 9 Oct. 2020 In 1997, when engineers replaced the same part on the other span of the bridge, the state issued similar guidance about traffic apocalypse. oregonlive, "I-5 bridge project: Predictions of traffic catastrophe don’t materialize," 25 Sep. 2020 Moutos continued to tweet on Friday, comparing the current wildfires to the apocalypse. Lauren Mcgaughy, Dallas News, "Assistant Texas AG fired over tweets was repeatedly warned about behavior in past," 11 Sep. 2020 So once again, the Umbrella Academy must reunite in time to stop another apocalypse—this one bearing down in 1963 because of their disruptive presence. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Watch The Umbrella Academy cast have a (virtual) family reunion to discuss season 2," 30 July 2020 Oh, and of course, throughout season 1, there are people hunting the Hargreeves siblings as the try to stop the apocalypse. Leah Marilla Thomas, refinery29.com, "What You Need To Remember From The Umbrella Academy’s Apocalyptic First Season," 30 July 2020 Just when things aren't hard enough, the Order is also trying to stop the apocalypse. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything We Know About "The Order" Season 3," 22 June 2020 The condition of nothing to do has seldom presented itself to me, and hasn’t even now, plus the present time is too full of dread and unhappiness and intimations of the apocalypse. Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker, "Lorrie Moore on Bearing Witness to Suffering," 21 Sep. 2020 Overall unemployment is at 8.4% and trending down — very bad, but not the apocalypse once feared. Joseph Lawler, Washington Examiner, "Restaurants, bars, and theaters at risk of being left for dead," 18 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for apocalypse

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for apocalypse

Last Updated

19 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Apocalypse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apocalypse. Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for apocalypse


How to pronounce apocalypse (audio)

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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