ca·lam·i·ty | \kə-ˈla-mə-tē \
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

To Albanians, the eagle denotes pride, heroism, strength and, ultimately, their ability as a people to survive historical calamities — of which there have been many. Ani Kokobobo, Washington Post, "For Albanians, it’s not just an eagle. Here’s the deeper story those World Cup fines.," 2 July 2018 The intense media attention has put a spotlight on how innovative solutions – some local, some global – are necessary to help people recover from a weather calamity – and also prepare for one. The Christian Science Monitor, "Thai cave rescue: a metaphor on climate adaptation," 9 July 2018 Vita Competitiveness has improved in most of Western Europe, but Italy lags behind. *Based on unit labor costs Source: European Central Bank In Italy’s case, reintroducing the lira would most likely be a calamity. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Italy’s Old Bonds Hold Clues to Its Euro Future," 31 May 2018 And make no mistake – barring a calamity, that announcement could be coming soon. Patrick Brennan,, "Analysis: FC Cincinnati's MLS expansion bid in a good place. Enjoy the club for what it is today.," 19 Apr. 2018 That depicts a calamity of three years earlier, when the Méduse , a French naval frigate, ran aground off the West African coast. The Economist, "Peril on the sea, in art and music," 22 Mar. 2018 Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius made another embarrassing blunder after his Champions League calamity on Tuesday night - this time in a in a pre-season friendly against Tranmere., "REVEALED: What Tranmere Winger & Liverpool Fan Said to Loris Karius After Latest Clanger," 11 July 2018 During Mercury's backward spin, a seemingly innocuous typo can quickly become a professional calamity, so due diligence is absolutely imperative. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What July's Aquarius Horoscope Means for You," 29 June 2018 Worse, every major calamity begins with a moronic McGuffin or an equally obnoxious lapse in logic. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom review: This nonsense has gone full Sharknado," 22 June 2018

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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Statistics for calamity

Last Updated

2 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for calamity

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

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More Definitions for calamity



English Language Learners Definition of calamity

: an event that causes great harm and suffering


ca·lam·i·ty | \kə-ˈla-mə-tē \
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

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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

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one that holds something together

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