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

At the time of the cataclysm, the city is said to have had a population of about 12,000. Chiara Goia, Smithsonian, "The New Treasures of Pompeii," 21 Aug. 2019 This era of Trumpian polarization is a result of an ongoing cultural cataclysm, not the cause of it. Kayla Bartsch, National Review, "Marianne Williamson Offers Priestly Wisdom for a Nation Adrift — Seriously," 12 Aug. 2019 If the samples from the surface confirm that there was a lunar cataclysm, this could also tell us a great deal about how the solar system formed. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "Lunar Mysteries That Science Still Needs to Solve," 16 July 2019 Astrophysicists imagined one-off cataclysms — perhaps collapsing stars, or colliding black holes — which would seem to be the only way to generate such enormous amounts of energy in so little time. Quanta Magazine, "Ultra-Powerful Radio Bursts May Be Getting a Cosmic Boost," 10 Oct. 2017 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

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

25 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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