[ kat-uh-rakt ]
See synonyms for: cataractcataracted on

  1. a descent of water over a steep surface; a waterfall, especially one of considerable size.

  2. any furious rush or downpour of water; deluge.

  1. Ophthalmology.

    • an abnormality of the eye, characterized by opacity of the lens.

    • the opaque area.

Origin of cataract

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English cataracte, from Latin catar(r)acta, from Greek katarráktēs “waterfall, floodgate, portcullis” (noun), “downrushing” (adjective), from katarássein “to dash down,” from kat- cata- + arássein “to dash, smite”

Other words from cataract

  • cat·a·rac·tal, cat·a·rac·tous, adjective
  • cat·a·ract·ed, adjective

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

How to use cataract in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cataract


/ (ˈkætəˌrækt) /

  1. a large waterfall or rapids

  2. a deluge; downpour

  1. pathol

    • partial or total opacity of the crystalline lens of the eye

    • the opaque area

Origin of cataract

C15: from Latin catarracta, from Greek katarrhaktēs, from katarassein to dash down, from arassein to strike

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

Scientific definitions for cataract


[ kătə-răkt′ ]

  1. An opacity of the lens of the eye or the membrane that covers it, causing impairment of vision or blindness.

  2. A waterfall in which a large volume of water flows over a steep precipice.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for cataract


[ (kat-uh-rakt) ]

A loss in the transparency of the lens of the eye, which reduces a person's ability to see. The condition can be treated by surgically removing the lens and replacing it with an artificial one, or with corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.