ca·​lam·​i·​ty kə-ˈla-mə-tē How to pronounce calamity (audio)
plural calamities
: a disastrous event marked by great loss and lasting distress and suffering
calamities of nature
an economic calamity
: a state of deep distress or misery caused by major misfortune or loss

Examples of calamity in a Sentence

Twenty two years passed. Twenty-two years of excellent health and the boundless self-assurance that flows from being fit—twenty-two years spared the adversary that is illness and the calamity that waits in the wings. Phillip Roth, Everyman, 2006
A resentment born of the suspicion that all along the media were up to their usual tricks, hyping a national calamity to the max in order to make us buy more copies and tune into TV specials … Christopher Buckley, Time, 29 Nov. 1999
In the wake of this year's unending calamities, there has been renewed discussion of the need for an international rapid deployment force that can kick down doors to help victims of disasters. Kathleen Hunt, New York Times Magazine, 28 July 1991
floods, earthquakes, and other calamities He predicted calamity for the economy.
Recent Examples on the Web So any buyer’s market should come with a warning label – and a financial calamity may be required to create another one for California house hunters. Jonathan Lansner, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Nov. 2023 Throughout the universe, galaxies collide and combine in unimaginably humongous calamities. WIRED, 12 Nov. 2023 Founded in 1890 as Arkadelphia Methodist College, Henderson State was on the verge of financial calamity when its board voted unanimously to merge with the ASU System in 2019. Ryan Anderson, Arkansas Online, 2 Nov. 2023 In many ways, the race for Bitcoin mining superiority has caused some countries to head directly towards calamity. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 30 Oct. 2023 Avoid calamity — or worse — on your next hike by remembering these five basic tips. Los Angeles Times, 28 Oct. 2023 We grown-ups can also reduce the negative impact on ourselves through helping others, especially those affected by these calamities. Arash Javanbakht, Associate Professor Of Psychiatry, Wayne State University, Fortune Well, 28 Oct. 2023 Palestinians and their supporters need to face the reality that Hamas has intentionally engineered a massive national calamity. Hussein Ibish, The New Republic, 1 Nov. 2023 Reid is interested not only in how external forces arrayed themselves to bring about a calamity but also in how the personalities of Lumumba, Mobutu, and the separatist leader Moïse Tshombe made finding a solution more difficult. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 30 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'calamity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English calamytey, from Latin calamitat-, calamitas; perhaps akin to Latin clades destruction

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of calamity was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near calamity

Cite this Entry

“Calamity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ca·​lam·​i·​ty kə-ˈlam-ət-ē How to pronounce calamity (audio)
plural calamities
: deep distress or misery
: an event that causes great harm

More from Merriam-Webster on calamity

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