cataclysm

[kat-uh-kliz-uh m]

noun

any violent upheaval, especially one of a social or political nature.
Physical Geography. a sudden and violent physical action producing changes in the earth's surface.
an extensive flood; deluge.

Nearby words

  1. catachresis,
  2. catachronobiology,
  3. cataclasis,
  4. cataclastic,
  5. cataclinal,
  6. cataclysmic,
  7. catacomb,
  8. catacombs,
  9. catacrotism,
  10. catadicrotism

Origin of cataclysm

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

Can be confusedcataclysm catechism

Synonym study

1. See disaster.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cataclysm


British Dictionary definitions for cataclysm

cataclysm

noun

a violent upheaval, esp of a political, military, or social nature
a disastrous flood; deluge
geology another name for catastrophe (def. 4)
Derived Formscataclysmic or cataclysmal, adjectivecataclysmically, adverb

Word Origin for cataclysm

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

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 cataclysm

cataclysm

n.

1630s, from French cataclysme (16c.), from Latin cataclysmos or directly from Greek kataklysmos "deluge, flood, inundation," from kataklyzein "to deluge," from kata "down" (see cata-) + klyzein "to wash," from PIE *kleue- "to wash, clean" (see cloaca).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper