disaster was our Word of the Day on 05/29/2010. Hear the podcast!
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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
Mr Hapilon is now thought to be injured and sheltering in Marawi’s biggest mosque (which the army is reluctant to attack, fearing a propaganda disaster).
Yet, the donations have been slow to flow to a less dramatic yet far more wide-ranging disaster — this one driven by conflicts and, in some areas, drought — that now threatens famine for more than 20 million people in nine African nations and Yemen.
Late Wednesday night, Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor signed a proclamation declaring that the severe flooding had created a disaster.
Learn what to do before, during and after a disaster at this free event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Blvd.
While the club’s projects vary, from providing clean water in Ecuador and assisting during natural disasters overseas to helping with local projects, Fuqua said endeavors that involve helping youths are especially meaningful to him.
The 2015 Dauphin Island Race disaster that killed six sailors on Mobile Bay has been revisited in a vivid, in-depth story in Smithsonian Magazine.
Shortly thereafter, Beebe exited (stage left), leaving a fiscal, political, and moral disaster for the new administration to grapple with.
The disaster brought to life the towers of waste depicted in the 2008 dystopian children's movie WALL-E, which portrayed the horrible yet real idea that our trash could pile up uncontrollably, squeezing us out of our habitat.
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."
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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