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

Even at the time, the evidence for an imminent jobs apocalypse was noticeably lacking: employment across the rich world reached record levels in 2019, while productivity growth in many countries was anaemic. The Economist, "A different dystopia: July 2030," 6 July 2019 Driver, Murray and the other townspeople address the menace with sad stoicism, a show of resistance in the face of inevitable apocalypse that is not without its poetry. New York Times, "‘The Dead Don’t Die’ Review: Zombies Gobbling Up Scraps of Pop Culture," 13 June 2019 Tilda Swinton plays a samurai Scot who is completely prepared for zombie apocalypse. Kyle Smith, National Review, "If Hipsters Became Zombies, Could We Tell the Difference?," 11 June 2019 Despite fear of a retail apocalypse, independent bookstores are thriving. Eric Ginsburg, Teen Vogue, "These Heroes Are Saving Black Feminist Classics by Putting Them on Wheels," 8 Jan. 2019 King thanked a slew of people for helping her while she was injured and for the new 8-episode series on Netflix, based on a mother looking for her daughter during a zombie apocalypse. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Jaime King hospitalized after suffering injury on set of new TV show," 28 Sep. 2018 Bakker claimed his development, located in the Ozark mountains, is the safest place to live when the apocalypse comes. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "Fraud, private jets and a Lamborghini: 10 televangelists who've been under fire," 17 June 2019 Murray: To me, the apocalypse is if the human fabric just continues to shred itself by this divisiveness, this opposition mentality that’s developed. Washington Post, "Q&A: Coffee with Bill Murray and Jim Jarmusch," 11 June 2019 Essayist Meghan O’Gieblyn was raised in a fundamentalist Christian household in Michigan by parents who, at one point, believed the apocalypse was imminent. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "How Christianity can be an “alternative” to consumerism," 9 Oct. 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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Statistics for apocalypse

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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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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