cat·​a·​clysm | \ ˈka-tə-ˌkli-zəm How to pronounce cataclysm (audio) \

Definition of cataclysm

3 : a momentous and violent event marked by overwhelming upheaval and demolition broadly : an event that brings great changes an international economic cataclysm

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Other Words from cataclysm

cataclysmal \ ˌka-​tə-​ˈkliz-​məl How to pronounce cataclysmal (audio) \ or cataclysmic \ ˌka-​tə-​ˈkliz-​mik How to pronounce cataclysmic (audio) \ adjective
cataclysmically \ ˌka-​tə-​ˈkliz-​mi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce cataclysmically (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for cataclysm



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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Oppenheimer visits the rundown Mexican beach resort town of Chicxulub Puerto, the unlikely center of an unimaginable apocalypse and geographical cataclysm 65 million years ago. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'Fireball' shows the awesome power of meteorites, asteroids hitting Earth: Top 5 danger moments," 14 Nov. 2020 Classic DeLillo themes—digital technology, graphology, geopolitics—abound in this slim novel, in which friends gather amid a mysterious cataclysm. The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 9 Nov. 2020 The cataclysm made a lot of debris, forming a population of smaller asteroids that includes Bennu. National Geographic, "Ancient asteroid Bennu contains ingredients for life," 8 Oct. 2020 In some cases, the scene seemed to revert to a neutral gray, as if the smartphones that captured the pictures were engaged in a conspiracy to silence this latest cataclysm. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Your Phone Wasn’t Built for the Apocalypse," 11 Sep. 2020 This cataclysm occurred when an asteroid or comet the size of a mountain slammed into Earth, wiping out Tyrannosaurus rex along with the rest of the non-avian dinosaurs and bringing a sudden end to the Cretaceous period. Amy Mckeever, National Geographic, "Why Tyrannosaurus rex was one of the fiercest predators of all time," 9 Sep. 2020 Experts say the east winds that stoked Oregon's wildfire cataclysm are Oregon’s version of the dry, downslope Santa Ana winds that stoke big fires in California. oregonlive, "Explosion, sparks from power line preceded Oregon’s Holiday Farm fire, area residents say," 17 Sep. 2020 Today in a minute Cosmic cataclysm: On a morning in May, the Earth trembled from the vibration of a faraway, seven billion year-old collision of two immense black holes. National Geographic, "Why has it been so hard to let brilliant women shine?," 2 Sep. 2020 Older millennials graduated directly into the 2008 financial crisis, an economic cataclysm of their parents’ making that fundamentally upended—or rather, devastated—the labor market. Scott W. Stern, The New Republic, "The Generation That Was Exhausted," 18 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cataclysm.' 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 cataclysm

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cataclysm

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

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Time Traveler for cataclysm

Time Traveler

The first known use of cataclysm was in 1599

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Statistics for cataclysm

Last Updated

20 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cataclysm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for cataclysm


How to pronounce cataclysm (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cataclysm

: something that causes great destruction, violence, etc.

More from Merriam-Webster on cataclysm

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Nglish: Translation of cataclysm for Spanish Speakers

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