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

Even scenes of cataclysm—a supernova, a Jovian cyclone—can be beautiful from so safe a remove as Earth. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "The Amazon Fires, From an Extraterrestrial Perspective," 6 Sep. 2019 Payne flits between the two cataclysms, first with slow precision, and then, as the cruxes approach, back and forth cinematically, the borders showing some slippage. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "Endgames in “Sea Wall/A Life” and “Coriolanus”," 12 Aug. 2019 Early theories included evaporating black holes, cosmic cataclysms, dense dead stars—and yes, intelligent extraterrestrials. Nadia Drake, National Geographic, "Bizarre radio burst traced back to its origin in deep space," 27 June 2019 In the standard paradigm of the Hadean eon, these strikes culminated in an assault dubbed the Late Heavy Bombardment, also known as the lunar cataclysm, in which asteroids emigrated to the inner solar system and pounded the rocky planets. Quanta Magazine, "Fossil Discoveries Challenge Ideas About Earth’s Start," 22 Jan. 2018 Eventually, the light from that cataclysm reached Earth, and in November 2016, it was captured by a group of intrepid humans at the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite. Quanta Magazine, "Long-Lived Stellar Blast Kindles Hope of a Supernova We’ve Never Seen Before," 12 Sep. 2019 The year was 1917, and a proud American tradition was born out of cataclysm. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Katy VFW auxiliary to salute Gold Star moms, families," 6 Sep. 2019 Was that cataclysm somehow necessary for the chain of events that led to life, to you and me, to pizza? Brian Resnick, Vox, "How Apollo moon rocks reveal the epic history of the cosmos," 15 July 2019 The final cataclysm, in this Biblical array of plagues, happened when white blood cells produced by the donor’s marrow mounted a vigorous immune response to the patient’s body. Siddhartha Mukherjee, The New Yorker, "The Promise and Price of Cellular Therapies," 15 July 2019

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

7 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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