- a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure.
- Obsolete. an unfavorable aspect of a star or planet.
Origin of disaster
1585–95; < Middle French desastre < Italian disastro, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + astro star < Latin astrum < Greek ástron
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. mischance, misfortune, misadventure, mishap, accident, blow, reverse, adversity, affliction.
1. Disaster, calamity, catastrophe, cataclysm refer to adverse happenings often occurring suddenly and unexpectedly. A disaster may be caused by carelessness, negligence, bad judgment, or the like, or by natural forces, as a hurricane or flood: a railroad disaster. Calamity suggests great affliction, either personal or general; the emphasis is on the grief or sorrow caused: the calamity of losing a child. Catastrophe refers especially to the tragic outcome of a personal or public situation; the emphasis is on the destruction or irreplaceable loss: the catastrophe of a defeat in battle. Cataclysm, physically an earth-shaking change, refers to a personal or public upheaval of unparalleled violence: a cataclysm that turned his life in a new direction.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for pre-disaster
Trailer homes are renting for $9,000 a month, up from $1,500 to $2,000 pre-disaster.A Gulf Coast Fisherman's Survival Story
June 1, 2010
The matter of health organization in Halifax affords perhaps the most significant contrast with the pre-disaster days.
The old sombre frame-constructed buildings of the pre-disaster days are being replaced with attractive hydrostone.
Normal (pre-disaster) community life traditionally operates at a low level of effectiveness and efficiency.
- an occurrence that causes great distress or destruction
- a thing, project, etc, that fails or has been ruined
C16 (originally in the sense: malevolent astral influence): from Italian disastro, from dis- (pejorative) + astro star, from Latin astrum, from Greek astron
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for pre-disaster
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper