cataclysm

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

Definition of cataclysm

1 : flood, deluge
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

Synonyms

alluvion, bath, cataract, deluge, flood, flood tide, inundation, Niagara, overflow, spate, torrent

Antonyms

drought (also drouth)

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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

More and more, and not without reason, ecologically engaged artists seem to be moving away from a vocabulary of advocacy and resistance; coming to terms with cataclysm is more the way. Roberta Smith, Martha Schwendener, Jason Farago And Will Heinrich, New York Times, "What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week," 7 Feb. 2018 But an alternative theory posits that the cataclysm never happened and that the preponderance of rocks dating to 3.9 billion years ago is due to sample bias. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "Lunar Mysteries That Science Still Needs to Solve," 16 July 2019 The resulting cataclysm fused the two worlds together, forming our Earth. Brian Resnick, Vox, "How Apollo moon rocks reveal the epic history of the cosmos," 15 July 2019 Then their peaceful existence is shattered by the arrival of Wounded Woman (Hilary Swank), who somehow survived the cataclysm. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "I Am Mother envisions a dark future world where AI is almost human," 13 June 2019 Back in 1946, in the wake of a cataclysm, the new regime instituted gender equality and mandatory and free education, so a peasant Bosnian girl, born in a house with a dirt floor, could go to school. Aleksandar Hemon, The New Yorker, "My Mother and the Failed Experiment of Yugoslavia," 5 June 2019 This was generally the way with the Little Ice Age: civilization went on, turning deprivation into opportunity, while enduring near-constant cataclysm. Nathaniel Rich, Harper's magazine, "Ruina Mundi," 10 May 2019 Every star reaches an end point in its life and goes out in a violent cataclysm. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Think They've Found a Dead Planetary Core Orbiting a Dead Star," 4 Apr. 2019 Set principally at Bergen-Belsen after its postwar conversion to a camp for displaced persons, this nuanced story of rejuvenation and romance in the aftermath of cataclysm is enhanced by Ms. Stamper’s own monochrome artwork. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Best of 2018," 7 Dec. 2018

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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Statistics for cataclysm

Last Updated

11 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for cataclysm

The first known use of cataclysm was in 1599

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More Definitions for cataclysm

cataclysm

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cataclysm

: something that causes great destruction, violence, etc.

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More from Merriam-Webster on cataclysm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cataclysm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cataclysm

Spanish Central: Translation of cataclysm

Nglish: Translation of cataclysm for Spanish Speakers

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