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 Imagine the coronavirus pandemic is a zombie apocalypse. Laura Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Zombies, umbrellas, R-naughts - explaining coronavirus herd immunity and whether we can get there," 23 Apr. 2021 We’ve already been primed from all the movies that came out over the years that there’s going to be an apocalypse. Jeff Ihaza, Rolling Stone, "Paul Wall Has Entered The Chat: The Rap Icon on Going Viral And Getting Vaccinated," 15 Mar. 2021 Designer Uros Pavasovic is proposing a highly creative way to repurpose them—as powerplants for a 427-foot gigayacht that resembles a luxury vessel from the apocalypse. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, "Boat of the Week: This Wild 427-Foot Superyacht Concept Uses Recycled Jumbo-Jet Engines for Power," 16 Apr. 2021 The website recently arose from internet obscurity with the claim that the 16th century French astrologer Nostradamus foresaw a zombie apocalypse in 2021 and that the CDC's website was evidence as such, a claim that USA TODAY has debunked. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, "Fact check: COVID-19 vaccines won't cause a zombie apocalypse," 16 Apr. 2021 The 1935 tour ended in catastrophe when Gardel, 44, and his entire entourage were killed in an airplane crash in Medellín, Colombia, a cultural apocalypse that sent the tango universe into profound mourning. Los Angeles Times, "They called him tango’s assassin. But Astor Piazzolla’s musical reboot made him a legend," 15 Apr. 2021 The world likes to throw curveballs at us, and an apocalypse-like pandemic certainly is that. Art Malkov, Forbes, "Working From Home: Seven Secrets To Supercharge Your Remote Team," 12 Apr. 2021 Unfortunately, the shrew had a number of apocalypse-friendly adaptations humans have since lost. Cody Cassidy, Wired, "How to Survive a Killer Asteroid," 9 Apr. 2021 In the summer of 2019, when joking about omens of the apocalypse still seemed fun, a swarm of grasshoppers descended on the Las Vegas Strip. Joshua Sokol New York Times, Star Tribune, "That night 46 million grasshoppers went to Las Vegas," 8 Apr. 2021

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

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Apocalypse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apocalypse. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for apocalypse



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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