: a collapse (as of a society or regime) marked by catastrophic violence and disorder; broadly : downfall
Did You Know?
Norse mythology specified that the destruction of the world would be preceded by a cataclysmic final battle between the good and evil gods, resulting in the heroic deaths of all the "good guys." The German word for this earth-shattering last battle was Götterdämmerung. Literally, Götterdämmerung means "twilight of the gods." (Götter is the plural of Gott, meaning "god," and Dämmerung means "twilight.") Figuratively, the term is extended to situations of world-altering destruction marked by extreme chaos and violence. In the 19th century, the German composer Richard Wagner brought attention to the word Götterdämmerung when he chose it as the title of the last opera of his cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, and by the early 20th century, the word had entered English.
There were those who worried that the latest civil war and attempted regime change would end in Götterdämmerung for the small country.
"One wishes, of course, for some sort of Götterdämmerung … in which the former victims rise up to give the monsters a taste of their terrible medicine. That's what the movies are for." - James Taub, Stars and Stripes, August 23, 2014
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Memory
What is the meaning of hegemony, our Word of the Day from September 18th? The answer is …
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP