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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The Britney Spears conservatorship calamity lurches into court again in Los Angeles Wednesday with the possibility that some momentous developments might ensue and some decisions might be put off – again. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, 14 July 2021 Biden, responding to what appeared to be the deadliest calamity of his young presidency, was to survey the devastation and meet with first responders hunting for survivors among the rubble in Surfside. Jonathan Lemire,, 1 July 2021 Biden, responding to what appeared to be the deadliest calamity of his young presidency, also met first responders hunting for survivors in the rubble in Surfside before the pause in the search. Alexandra Jaffe And Jonathan Lemire, Star Tribune, 1 July 2021 The echo chamber that is the Internet has created what appears to be a rising tide of evidence describing the calamity that will result should leaders call their employees back to the workplace. Nate Bennett, Forbes, 28 June 2021 As of Sunday afternoon, nine are dead, 10 are injured and more than 150 people are still unaccounted for in the still unfolding calamity near Miami Beach. NBC News, 28 June 2021 Morath can only adjust attendance rules during a disaster in the semester when the calamity first occurs and have it in effect for up to one school year after. Emily Donaldson, Dallas News, 10 June 2021 Colin’s struggle to crawl out from the wreckage of his old tech mogul life evokes the professional calamity that Mahoney’s Walter was dealing with in Season Two, while Laila recalls elements of the many kids that Paul helped over three seasons. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 20 May 2021 That neutron star merger whetted many researchers’ appetites for the third type of cosmic calamity that would obviously produce gravitational waves: the merger of a black hole and a neutron star. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, 29 June 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for calamity

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for calamity

Last Updated

18 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Calamity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for calamity



English Language Learners Definition of calamity

formal : an event that causes great harm and suffering


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

More from Merriam-Webster on calamity

Nglish: Translation of calamity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of calamity for Arabic Speakers


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