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.
- cataclysm , catechism
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use cataclysm in a sentence
We were innocent of the global health cataclysm that was about to transpire, one which would force many of us to reassess what we had long taken for granted.
The pandemic spawned an American existential crisis, a productivity slump, a small-business cataclysm.
They want to cut the capital gains tax, sure — but its importance pales next to the urgency of stopping the cataclysm that would engulf us all if Democrats were to hold power.Hatred of liberals is all that’s left of conservatism | Paul Waldman | December 11, 2020 | Washington Post
It’s Round 74 of the Post Pundit 2020 Power Ranking, and barring a meteor strike, extraterrestrial invasion or unexpected constitutional cataclysm, we made it!Here’s who the power rankers think are going to win — everything | The Ranking Committee | October 30, 2020 | Washington Post
It’s a landscape of cataclysm and of regrowth, where nature shows off its singular ability to recover and revive, year after year.Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Environmentalism - Issue 90: Something Green | Anastasia Bendebury & Michael Shilo DeLay | October 7, 2020 | Nautilus
In the cataclysm that followed, the survival of republican government indeed was in peril.The Right Wing Screams for the Wambulance Over Gay Marriage Ruling | Walter Olson | October 13, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The reader feels the personal cataclysm of four kibbutznik paratroopers as their universe falls from grace.Halevi's 'Like Dreamers' Is the Big Book On Israel We've Been Waiting For | Don Futterman | October 8, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
That generic description of right-wing economics, however, is too vague to capture specific cataclysm that occurred in 2008.Obama’s Democratic Convention Speech: Explain the Financial Crisis | Peter Beinart | September 3, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
And I wanted to know what (besides the obvious cataclysm of 9/11) had turned him into such a radical voice on the subject.Bachmann, Gaffney, and the GOP’s Anti-Muslim Culture of Conspiracy | Jonathan Kay | July 23, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
The poet remains coolly detached: a circumspect observer in the face of cataclysm.
I see unutterable defeat, the success of the rebellion, a great catastrophe, a moral and physical cataclysm."Shiloh" as Seen by a Private Soldier | Warren Olney
Back had they gone to town, and then came the cataclysm of noon.Warrior Gap | Charles King
The aftermath of the war is a spiritual cataclysm such as civilized mankind has never before known.Introduction to the Science of Sociology | Robert E. Park
The legend begins with a deluge myth; a cataclysm ended a period of human existence.Myth, Ritual, and Religion, Vol. 1 | Andrew Lang
Nothing short of a seismic cataclysm—an earthquake, in fact—could deter a San Francisco audience after that.Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete | Albert Bigelow Paine
British Dictionary definitions for cataclysm
a violent upheaval, esp of a political, military, or social nature
a disastrous flood; deluge
- 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