catastrophe

[ kuh-tas-truh-fee ]
/ kəˈtæs trə fi /

noun

a sudden and widespread disaster: the catastrophe of war.
any misfortune, mishap, or failure; fiasco: The play was so poor our whole evening was a catastrophe.
a final event or conclusion, usually an unfortunate one; a disastrous end: the great catastrophe of the Old South at Appomattox.
(in a drama) the point at which the circumstances overcome the central motive, introducing the close or conclusion; dénouement.Compare catastasis, epitasis, protasis.
Geology. a sudden, violent disturbance, especially of a part of the surface of the earth; cataclysm.
Also called catastrophe function. Mathematics. any of the mathematical functions that describe the discontinuities that are treated in catastrophe theory.

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Origin of catastrophe

1570–80; < Greek katastrophḗ an overturning, akin to katastréphein to overturn. See cata-, strophe

synonym study for catastrophe

1, 3. See disaster.

OTHER WORDS FROM catastrophe

cat·a·stroph·ic [kat-uh-strof-ik] /ˌkæt əˈstrɒf ɪk/, cat·a·stroph·i·cal, ca·tas·tro·phal, adjectivesu·per·ca·tas·tro·phe, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for catastrophe

British Dictionary definitions for catastrophe

catastrophe
/ (kəˈtæstrəfɪ) /

noun

a sudden, extensive, or notable disaster or misfortune
the denouement of a play, esp a classical tragedy
a final decisive event, usually causing a disastrous end
Also called: cataclysm any sudden and violent change in the earth's surface caused by flooding, earthquake, or some other rapid process

Derived forms of catastrophe

catastrophic (ˌkætəˈstrɒfɪk), adjectivecatastrophically, adverb

Word Origin for catastrophe

C16: from Greek katastrophē, from katastrephein to overturn, from strephein to turn
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