cataclysm

noun

cat·​a·​clysm ˈka-tə-ˌkli-zəm How to pronounce cataclysm (audio)
1
2
3
: a momentous and violent event marked by overwhelming upheaval and demolition
broadly : an event that brings great changes
an international economic cataclysm
cataclysmal adjective
or cataclysmic
cataclysmically adverb

Examples of cataclysm in a Sentence

floods, earthquakes, and other cataclysms The country barely survived the cataclysm of war. The revolution could result in worldwide cataclysm.
Recent Examples on the Web If only Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other mainstream Republicans — who acknowledged that Trump was guilty of inciting an insurrection — had voted to convict, the nation would have been spared the potential cataclysm that now looms. Max Boot, Washington Post, 8 July 2024 But as much as the myriad cataclysms of Tokyo and Rio have receded in the rearview mirror, ratings watchers may want to cool it with the inevitable comparisons between this year’s event and the one from 12 years ago. Anthony Crupi, Sportico.com, 26 June 2024 Gravitational-wave observatories such as LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) in the U.S. and Virgo in Europe are now regularly spotting waves produced by cosmic cataclysms, and these waves may prove useful in probing the nature of vacuum energy. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, 1 Feb. 2021 But after the January 5 cataclysm, the view that the board would pick a newcomer took hold, and Wall Street and the business press buzzed that Gitlin appeared the ideal choice. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 29 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for cataclysm 

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

Word History

Etymology

French cataclysme, from Latin cataclysmos, from Greek kataklysmos, from kataklyzein to inundate, from kata- + klyzein to wash — more at clyster

First Known Use

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cataclysm was in 1599

Dictionary Entries Near cataclysm

Cite this Entry

“Cataclysm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cataclysm. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

cataclysm

noun
cat·​a·​clysm ˈkat-ə-ˌkliz-əm How to pronounce cataclysm (audio)
1
: a great flood
2
: a violent and destructive natural event (as an earthquake)
3
: a violent social or political change
cataclysmal adjective
or cataclysmic

More from Merriam-Webster on cataclysm

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