debacle was our Word of the Day on 09/11/2010. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of debacle in a Sentence
What a debacle. Next thing he knew, one of the patients would turn up dead. —T. Coraghessan Boyle, The Road to Wellville, 1993
So what had been intended as an orderly hearing ended in a general debacle, for as soon as Fray Domingo saw his protector dragged toward the exit door, he leaped at the guards and began pummeling them. —James A. Michener, Texas, 1985
Savings themselves evaporate in the course of such a debacle and thus the very wherewithal for reversing and retrieving the situation is lost … —Jane Jacobs, Cities and the Wealth of Nations, 1984
After the debacle of his first novel, he had trouble getting a publisher for his next book.
the financial debacle that was the stock market crash of 1929
Recent Examples of debacle from the Web
With its costly record of oversight failures and public relations debacles, this hardly comes as a surprise.
No brand, for instance, wants to endure the Tropicana debacle of 2009.
Read more: May digs in as U.K. premier amid election debacle turmoil 3.
But some believe that government officials were behind the debacle, with most of the blame being placed on William Oliver, also known as Oliver the Spy.
Mackanin and McClure met with Neris the morning after the debacle in LA.
There are no winners in the debacle over the National Puerto Rican Day Parade.
Orlando airport shuttle debacle was crash of history, glitches and surprise »
Top 5 reasons USA should withdraw from Paris ‘climate’ debacle.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'debacle'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
The Origin of debacle is French
Debacle comes from the French noun débâcle, which comes from the verb débâcler, meaning "to clear," "to unbolt," or "to unbar." That verb is from Middle French desbacler, which joined the prefix des- (equivalent to our de-, meaning "to do the opposite of") with the verb "bacler" ("to block"). In its original uses, "debacle" meant a breaking up of ice, or the rush of ice or water that follows such an occurrence. Eventually, "debacle" was used also to mean "a violent, destructive flood." Naturally, such uses led to meanings such as "a breaking up," "collapse," and finally "disaster" or "fiasco."
Origin and Etymology of debacle
French débâcle, from débâcler to clear, from Middle French desbacler, from des- de- + bacler to block, perhaps from Vulgar Latin *bacculare, from Latin baculum staff
First Known Use: 1802See Words from the same year
DEBACLE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of debacle for English Language Learners
: a great disaster or complete failure
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