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 On Tuesday, Trump unleashed a flurry of tweets, including one that halted talks with Democrats over a stimulus bill to aid people suffering from the economic calamity brought on by the pandemic. Josh Wingrove,, "Trump Free of Covid-19 Symptoms for Over 24 Hours, Doctor Says," 7 Oct. 2020 Amid a pandemic and widespread economic calamity, who would be the buyer? Kurt Streeter, New York Times, "The One Name the W.N.B.A. Won’t Say," 5 Oct. 2020 Cases were rising in Minnesota, and there were a handful of deaths a day, but this wasn’t the same calamity as New York City. Star Tribune, "Lives, on the line," 2 Oct. 2020 Across the world, big government spending is on the rise, spurred by state interventions to stave off the economic calamity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and by rising barriers to trade. Max Colchester, WSJ, "Boris Johnson Wants Scope to Boost Government Intervention, Rattling Brexit Talks," 8 Sep. 2020 Tesla's stock decline also coincides with major reversal in the Dow Jones and Nasdaq indices, which had been on a tear this year despite the economic calamity caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Danielle Abril, Fortune, "Tesla’s stock has plunged an 34% in one week," 8 Sep. 2020 Nothing in the first two hours of World Beyond suggests the awesome possibilities of life in a calamity reality. Darren Franich,, "The Walking Dead: World Beyond is already stumbling toward a quick conclusion: Review," 29 Sep. 2020 Though the aviation industry took a hit from 9/11, a different coronavirus outbreak in 2003 and a deep recession in 2008, economists say those episodes - while painful - pale in comparison to this year’s calamity. Author: Ian Duncan, Lori Aratani, Michael Laris, Anchorage Daily News, "Airlines face worst crisis since 9/11 as funding ends," 27 Sep. 2020 Lebanon had been struggling badly even before the Aug. 4 port calamity, with its bickering ruling class unable to take steps to redress an economy in tatters and relieve the plight of a population sinking deeper and deeper into poverty. Dana Khraiche,, "Lebanon ‘Going to Hell’ If No Government Is Formed, Aoun Warns," 21 Sep. 2020

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

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Calamity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for calamity


How to pronounce calamity (audio)

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

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