Definition of disaster
- natural disasters
- The party was a disaster.
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The program examined several bridge failures and other engineering disasters.
The new regulations could be a disaster for smaller businesses.
They're trying to find a way to avoid disaster.
The dinner party was a complete disaster.
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Disaster has its roots in the belief that the positions of stars influence the fate of humans, often in destructive ways; its original meaning in English was "an unfavorable aspect of a planet or star." The word comes to us through Middle French and the Old Italian word disastro, from the Latin prefix dis- and Latin astro, meaning "star." Another unfortunate word that comes to us from astrological beliefs is "ill-starred." Now generally used in the sense of "unlucky" or "having or destined to a hapless fate," "ill-starred" was originally used literally to describe someone born under or guided by an evil star. We also have star-crossed, meaning "not favored by the stars" or "ill-fated."
: something (such as a flood, tornado, fire, plane crash, etc.) that happens suddenly and causes much suffering or loss to many people
: something that has a very bad effect or result
: a complete or terrible failure
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