catastrophize

verb, transitive + intransitive ca·tas·tro·phize \ kə-ˈta-strə-ˌfīz \
variants: also British catastrophise

Definition of catastrophize

catastrophized; catastrophizing; catastrophizes
:to imagine the worst possible outcome of an action or event :to think about a situation or event as being a catastrophe or having a potentially catastrophic outcome
  • It's easy to have one bad night of sleep and catastrophize that you'll never sleep well again.
  • —Katherine Sharkeyquoted in AllureJune 2012
  • Our minds are constantly in the past or the future—we'll ruminate on what's too late to change or catastrophize about what hasn't happened yet.
  • —Diana Winstonquoted in O, The Oprah Magazine1 Feb. 2013
  • This meal needed to be special. Special and kosher. With this in mind, I began to catastrophize: What if I screwed the whole thing up? What if I unknowingly broke a rule of kashrut, effectively tainting the whole meal and ruining the start to the holiday season?
  • —Gabi MoskowitzCity Paper3 Oct. 2012
  • Learning not to catastrophize and to think more helpful and truthful thoughts can bring down stress …
  • —Mary Jean PorterPueblo (Colorado) Chieftain13 Nov. 2012

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First Known Use of catastrophize

1962


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