- a general breakup or dispersion; sudden downfall or rout: The revolution ended in a debacle.
- a complete collapse or failure.
- a breaking up of ice in a river.Compare embacle.
- a violent rush of waters or ice.
Origin of debacle
SynonymsSee more synonyms for debacle on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for debacle
“I believe we are in the hour of the debacle of the institutions, they cannot be any more rotten,” said Padre Goyo.Mexico’s Holy Warrior Against the Cartels
November 18, 2014
During this debacle, she read some medical literature on self-dehydration.The Nurse Coaching People Through Death by Starvation
November 17, 2014
In the event, debacle that it was, Kennedy refused to listen to them.The CIA’s Wrong: Arming Rebels Works
October 19, 2014
After this debacle, my friend and I ordered The Artist out of revenge.Prisoners Get Cultural Fix with 8-Tracks and Bootleg Cassettes
August 18, 2014
Of course, the Crash over Brokeback Mountain debacle fits into this same rant.The Worst Oscar Winners, From ‘Rocky’ and ‘Crash’ to Gwyneth Paltrow
Kevin Fallon, Marlow Stern
February 26, 2014
The next subject upon which I thought I might tackle him was the “Debacle.”
The debacle of Russia was ever before the eyes of these nations.With the Doughboy in France
Some place in that debacle there lay his own responsibility.Dangerous Days
Mary Roberts Rinehart
How long would it be before we reached this stage of debacle?Our Elizabeth
Florence A. Kilpatrick
That was one way of putting it, but both Joe and the newscaster who had covered the debacle knew the reality of the situation.Mercenary
Dallas McCord Reynolds
- a sudden disastrous collapse or defeat, esp one involving a disorderly retreat; rout
- the breaking up of ice in a river during spring or summer, often causing flooding
- a violent rush of water carrying along debris
Word Origin and History for debacle
"disaster," 1848, from French débâcle "downfall, collapse, disaster" (17c.), a figurative use, literally "breaking up (of ice on a river)," extended to the violent flood that follows when the river ice melts in spring; from débâcler "to free," from Middle French desbacler "to unbar," from des- "off" + bacler "to bar," from Vulgar Latin *bacculare, from Latin baculum "stick" (see bacillus). Sense of "disaster" was present in French before English borrowed the word.