- of the nature of a catastrophe, or disastrous event; calamitous: a catastrophic failure of the dam.
- a sudden and widespread disaster: the catastrophe of war.
- any misfortune, mishap, or failure; fiasco: The play was so poor our whole evening was a catastrophe.
- a final event or conclusion, usually an unfortunate one; a disastrous end: the great catastrophe of the Old South at Appomattox.
- (in a drama) the point at which the circumstances overcome the central motive, introducing the close or conclusion; dénouement.Compare catastasis, epitasis, protasis.
- Geology. a sudden, violent disturbance, especially of a part of the surface of the earth; cataclysm.
- Also called catastrophe function. Mathematics. any of the mathematical functions that describe the discontinuities that are treated in catastrophe theory.
Origin of catastrophe
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for catastrophical
At seventeen such things are not embarrassing; they are catastrophical.Seventeen
- a sudden, extensive, or notable disaster or misfortune
- the denouement of a play, esp a classical tragedy
- a final decisive event, usually causing a disastrous end
- Also called: cataclysm any sudden and violent change in the earth's surface caused by flooding, earthquake, or some other rapid process
Word Origin and History for catastrophical
1530s, "reversal of what is expected" (especially a fatal turning point in a drama), from Latin catastropha, from Greek katastrophe "an overturning; a sudden end," from katastrephein "to overturn, turn down, trample on; to come to an end," from kata "down" (see cata-) + strephein "turn" (see strophe). Extension to "sudden disaster" is first recorded 1748.