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

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 So is Beyoncé telling us that the apocalypse is coming? Wired, 31 July 2022 Regina begins claiming that Jennifer and her liberal cohorts knew ahead of time that the apocalypse was coming, that Yorick is alive, and that Jennifer murdered soldiers to cover up her conspiracy. EW.com, 26 Oct. 2021 And for those who doubt they could get sucked into a group like this, Washington cites his own upbringing in the Worldwide Church of God, where he was raised to prepare for the coming apocalypse. Brenna Ehrlich, Rolling Stone, 3 July 2022 Ben crosses over to the afterlife Once again, Viktor is responsible for the apocalypse. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, 22 June 2022 The new mode of dressing takes inspiration from bracing for the apocalypse, but with a stronger, sexier MO than your typical Blade Runner fare. ELLE, 10 May 2022 The plot also digs into Marks’ past, exploring her romantic interests and her childhood spent growing up with survivalist parents preparing for the apocalypse. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, 17 Mar. 2022 The result feels a little like Mars Attacks!, if the call were coming from inside the house: a disaster movie all dressed up for the apocalypse with too many movie stars to count and not quite enough punchlines. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, 7 Dec. 2021 The book seems to be addressing typical readers of essayistic nonfiction like myself: People who have time, and at least some money, to spend preparing for an apocalypse. Rebecca Stoner, Outside Online, 25 Apr. 2020 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Apocalypse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apocalypse. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on apocalypse

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