disaster was our Word of the Day on 05/29/2010. Hear the podcast!
Examples of disaster in a Sentence
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.
Recent Examples of disaster from the Web
The war was an unmitigated disaster for the Palestinians.
Others say few leaders are doing more to avert a climate change disaster than Musk.
This decision, based on falsehoods and the denial of climate change, would be a complete disaster for our cities, Washington state, our country and the entire world.
Only 1 billion rand was allocated to government departments, of which about 85 percent was spent during a period in which six of the country’s nine provinces were declared disaster areas, according to research from Agri SA.
Price drops in oil and natural gas, as well as beefed up safety regulations that kicked in after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, are chipping away at the appeal of nuclear power.
The event was such a disaster that many wondered what the university was thinking to have invited a speaker so opposed by its student body in the first place.
The Mets flirted with disaster for two innings after Wheeler’s early departure, with a mild blister on his right middle finger, and then found it in the ninth.
Is this group of consultants dealing with a forthcoming natural disaster which someone has anticipated?
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disaster'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
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."
Origin and Etymology of disaster
Middle French & Old Italian; Middle French desastre, from Old Italian disastro, from dis- (from Latin) + astro star, from Latin astrum — more at astral
First Known Use: 1568
DISASTER Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of disaster for English Language Learners
: 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
DISASTER Defined for Kids
Definition of disaster for Students
: something (as a flood or a tornado) that happens suddenly and causes much suffering or loss
History for disaster
People who experience bad luck are sometimes said to be “star-crossed.” This expression comes from the belief that the position of the stars and planets has a direct influence on earthly events. The origins of the word disaster can be traced to this same belief. Disaster is borrowed from disastro, an Italian word formed from the negative prefix dis- and the noun astro, meaning “star.” Disastro originally referred to an unfortunate event, such as a military defeat, that took place when certain heavenly bodies were in an unlucky position.
Seen and Heard
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