ca·​tas·​ta·​sis | \ kəˈtastəsə̇s \
plural catastases\ -​əˌsēz \

Definition of catastasis

1 : the dramatic complication immediately preceding the climax of a play
2 : the climax of a play — compare catastrophe, epitasis, protasis

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

History and Etymology for catastasis

Greek katastasis settlement, establishment, from kathistanai to set in order, from kata- cata- + histanai to set, place

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about catastasis

Statistics for catastasis

Cite this Entry

“Catastasis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

Comments on catastasis

What made you want to look up catastasis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!