disaster

[ dih-zas-ter, -zah-ster ]
/ dɪˈzæs tər, -ˈzɑ stər /

noun

a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure.
Obsolete. an unfavorable aspect of a star or planet.

Origin of disaster

1585–95; < Middle French desastre < Italian disastro, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + astro star < Latin astrum < Greek ástron

Related forms

pre·dis·as·ter, noun

Synonym study

1. Disaster, calamity, catastrophe, cataclysm refer to adverse happenings often occurring suddenly and unexpectedly. A disaster may be caused by carelessness, negligence, bad judgment, or the like, or by natural forces, as a hurricane or flood: a railroad disaster. Calamity suggests great affliction, either personal or general; the emphasis is on the grief or sorrow caused: the calamity of losing a child. Catastrophe refers especially to the tragic outcome of a personal or public situation; the emphasis is on the destruction or irreplaceable loss: the catastrophe of a defeat in battle. Cataclysm, physically an earth-shaking change, refers to a personal or public upheaval of unparalleled violence: a cataclysm that turned his life in a new direction.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for disaster

British Dictionary definitions for disaster

disaster

/ (dɪˈzɑːstə) /

noun

an occurrence that causes great distress or destruction
a thing, project, etc, that fails or has been ruined

Derived Forms

disastrous, adjective

Word Origin for disaster

C16 (originally in the sense: malevolent astral influence): from Italian disastro, from dis- (pejorative) + astro star, from Latin astrum, from Greek astron
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