catastrophe theory

noun Mathematics.

a theory, based on topology, for studying discontinuous processes and the mathematical models that describe them.

Origin of catastrophe theory

First recorded in 1970–75 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for catastrophe theory

catastrophe theory


  1. a mathematical theory that classifies surfaces according to their form
  2. the popular application of this theory to the explanation of abruptly changing phenomena, as by the discontinuity of a line on the topmost fold of a folded surface
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