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 Best to keep up; no one wants to be left behind in a zombie apocalypse. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "New releases making up for lost time: Captain Comics," 16 May 2020 As a work that concerns spiritual equanimity in the face of mortality and apocalypse, the series, which premieres Monday on Netflix, is also unexpectedly apt for these strange days. Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Adventure Time’ meets a metaphyiscal podcast in Netflix’s extraordinary new ’toon," 20 Apr. 2020 Here: the final apocalypse of the American frontier. Julian Brave Noisecat, Harper's magazine, "Perhaps the World Ends Here," 5 Dec. 2019 There’s one on life choices, a zombie apocalypse, a mysterious shadow organization that controls lives, actors turning the tables on their audience and a poignant breakup scene. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Walk-through experiences the highlight this years Without Walls Festival," 19 Oct. 2019 The science of human value began with the preparations for a previous apocalypse. Adam Rogers, Wired, "How Much Is a Human Life Actually Worth?," 10 May 2020 The sequel focuses on the character Ellie, who in the first game spent her childhood and early teen years surviving the zombie-like apocalypse. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Coronavirus won’t stop ‘The Last of Us Part 2’ after all. Did a leak get the game a June release?," 4 May 2020 That’s the economic apocalypse the PPP is designed to avert by giving businesses with fewer than 500 employees eight weeks’ worth of payroll support in the form of a loan. oregonlive, "Oregon small businesses face chaos, uncertainty as they seek federal coronavirus rescue loans," 12 Apr. 2020 As operator of one of the country’s biggest liquidators, Bryant Riley has profited from what’s been called the retail apocalypse — the destruction of shops and big chains largely because of competition from online upstarts. Author: Laurence Darmiento, Anchorage Daily News, "Retail thought it was facing the apocalypse. Then came the coronavirus," 7 Apr. 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

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Apocalypse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apocalypse. Accessed 1 Jun. 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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