catastrophe

play
noun ca·tas·tro·phe \kə-ˈtas-trə-(ˌ)fē\

Definition of catastrophe

  1. 1 :  the final event of the dramatic action especially of a tragedy

  2. 2 :  a momentous tragic event ranging from extreme misfortune to utter overthrow or ruin

  3. 3 a :  a violent and sudden change in a feature of the earth b :  a violent usually destructive natural event (as a supernova)

  4. 4 :  utter failure :  fiasco <the party was a catastrophe>

catastrophic

play \ˌka-tə-ˈsträ-fik\ adjective

catastrophically

play \-fi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of catastrophe in a sentence

  1. The oil spill was an environmental catastrophe.

  2. Experts fear a humanitarian catastrophe if food isn't delivered to the refugees soon.

  3. an area on the brink of catastrophe

Did You Know?

When English speakers first borrowed the Greek word catastrophe in the 1500s, they used it for the conclusion or final event of a dramatic work, especially of a tragedy. By the early 1600s, "catastrophe" was being used more generally of any generally unhappy conclusion or disastrous or ruinous end. By the 18th century, "catastrophe" had come to denote truly devastating events, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Finally, it came to be applied to things that are only figuratively catastrophic - burnt dinners, lost luggage, really bad movies, etc.

Origin and Etymology of catastrophe

Greek katastrophē, from katastrephein to overturn, from kata- + strephein to turn


First Known Use: 1540


CATASTROPHE Defined for English Language Learners

catastrophe

play
noun ca·tas·tro·phe \kə-ˈtas-trə-(ˌ)fē\

Definition of catastrophe for English Language Learners

  • : a terrible disaster


CATASTROPHE Defined for Kids

catastrophe

play
noun ca·tas·tro·phe \kə-ˈta-strə-fē\

Definition of catastrophe for Students

  1. 1 :  a sudden disaster <The oil spill was an environmental catastrophe.>

  2. 2 :  complete failure :  fiasco <The party was a catastrophe.>


Medical Dictionary

catastrophe

play
noun ca·tas·tro·phe \kə-ˈtas-trə-fē\

Medical Definition of catastrophe

  1. :  death (as from an inexplicable cause) before, during, or after an operation



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