apocalypse

noun apoc·a·lypse \ ə-ˈpä-kə-ˌlips \
|Updated on: 14 Jun 2018

Definition of apocalypse

plural apocalypses
1 a : 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 3
2 a : something viewed as a prophetic revelation
3 a : 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

  1. His book tells of an environmental apocalypse.

  2. the fear that the next global pandemic could be an apocalypse of biblical proportions

Recent Examples of apocalypse from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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.



APOCALYPSE Defined for English Language Learners

apocalypse

Definition of apocalypse for English Language Learners

  • : a great disaster : a sudden and very bad event that causes much fear, loss, or destruction



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