[ kat-uh-kliz-uhm ]
See synonyms for cataclysm on
  1. any violent upheaval, especially one of a social or political nature.

  2. Physical Geography. a sudden and violent physical action producing changes in the earth's surface.

  1. an extensive flood; deluge.

Origin of cataclysm

1625–35; <Late Latin cataclysmos (Vulgate) <Greek kataklysmós flood (akin to kataklýzein to flood), equivalent to kata-cata- + klysmós a washing

synonym study For cataclysm

1. See disaster.

Words that may be confused with cataclysm

Words Nearby cataclysm Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cataclysm in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cataclysm


/ (ˈkætəˌklɪzəm) /

  1. a violent upheaval, esp of a political, military, or social nature

  2. a disastrous flood; deluge

  1. geology another name for catastrophe (def. 4)

Origin of cataclysm

C17: via French from Latin, from Greek kataklusmos deluge, from katakluzein to flood, from kluzein to wash

Derived forms of cataclysm

  • cataclysmic or cataclysmal, adjective
  • cataclysmically, adverb

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