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

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 Scientists and aeronautical engineers are already preparing for this cataclysm by building ever larger rockets and setting up simulations of human life on Mars on a Hawaiian volcano, with uneven results. Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, "Is Colonizing Mars the Most Important Project in Human History?," 29 June 2018 Researchers have long cited intense volcanism in modern-day Siberia as the main culprit behind the cataclysm, also known as the Permian-Triassic mass extinction, 252 million years ago. Lucas Joel, Scientific American, "Oxygen Depletion Smothered Marine Life in Earth's Largest Mass Extinction," 15 May 2018 But even as that crisis subsided, hospitals began grappling with the aftermath of another industry cataclysm: serious manufacturing problems at Pfizer, the nation’s largest maker of generic injectable drugs. Katie Thomas, BostonGlobe.com, "Drug shortages said to be worsening," 2 July 2018 But even as that crisis subsided, hospitals began grappling with the aftermath of another industry cataclysm — serious manufacturing problems at Pfizer, the nation’s largest maker of generic injectable drugs. Katie Thomas, New York Times, "Emergency Rooms Run Out of Vital Drugs, and Patients Are Feeling It," 1 July 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

16 Jun 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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