calamity

noun
ca·​lam·​i·​ty | \ kə-ˈla-mə-tē How to pronounce calamity (audio) \
plural calamities

Definition of calamity

1 : a disastrous event marked by great loss and lasting distress and suffering calamities of nature an economic calamity
2 : a state of deep distress or misery caused by major misfortune or loss

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Imbecility in the government; discord among the provinces; foreign influence and indignities; a precarious existence in peace, and peculiar calamities from war. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "GOP repeats ObamaCare mistakes on immigration," 18 June 2018 And while the Casio's ability to withstand a hard hit from a bat was particularly impressive, all of them can handle most common calamities. Seth Porges, Popular Mechanics, "Ruggedized Cameras Comparison Test," 21 Sep. 2010 That can make the difference between a passing shower and a city-stopping calamity, since snow occupies around ten times the volume of rain and doesn’t flow away so easily. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, "When Small Changes Make a Big Difference," 6 Feb. 2019 The calamity on Puerto Rico, which included the near-total destruction of the island’s power grid, exposed the vulnerabilities of the small island developing states of the Atlantic. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Hurricane Season 2018 Has a Lot to Learn From Last Year," 1 June 2018 But there a few key differences between the housing market then and the housing market today that make another global financial calamity, or at least one that mirrors the previous one, unlikely. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Will the housing bubble cause another financial crisis?," 2 May 2018 But at the last possible moment, the deal would fall through—if not from some calamity, then because Barbish was just too principled. Michael Lapointe, The Atlantic, "The Twisted Tale of the World’s Largest Pearl," 11 May 2018 The subway led the city’s recovery from the fiscal calamity of the 1970s. Jonathan Mahler, New York Times, "The Case for the Subway," 3 Jan. 2018 The military’s support has helped authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro cling to power amid an economic calamity and intermittent protests that have rocked his tenure since 2013. Kejal Vyas, WSJ, "Venezuela Says It Foiled Military Uprising," 21 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'calamity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of calamity

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for calamity

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about calamity

Statistics for calamity

Last Updated

29 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for calamity

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for calamity

calamity

noun

English Language Learners Definition of calamity

formal : an event that causes great harm and suffering

calamity

noun
ca·​lam·​i·​ty | \ kə-ˈla-mə-tē How to pronounce calamity (audio) \
plural calamities

Kids Definition of calamity

1 : great distress or misfortune … he felt oppressed by the vague sense of impending calamity.— Jack London, The Call of the Wild
2 : an event that causes great harm and suffering : disaster

Other Words from calamity

calamitous \ -​təs \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on calamity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for calamity

Spanish Central: Translation of calamity

Nglish: Translation of calamity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of calamity for Arabic Speakers

Comments on calamity

What made you want to look up calamity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!