- The definition of a cataclysm is a catastrophe or a large-scale and often violent event that causes change or upheaval.
- A devastating and destructive tsunami is an example of a cataclysm.
- A violent political uprising that leads to a new leader coming into power is an example of a cataclysm.
cataclysm definition by Webster's New World
- a great flood; deluge
- any great upheaval, as an earthquake or a war, that causes sudden and violent changes, great destruction, etc.
Origin: Classical Latin cataclysmos ; from Classical Greek kataklysmos ; from kataklyzein ; from kata-, down plush klyzein, to wash: for Indo-European base see cloaca
cataclysm definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- A violent upheaval that causes great destruction or brings about a fundamental change.
- A violent and sudden change in the earth's crust.
- A devastating flood.
Origin: French cataclysme, from Latin cataclysmos, deluge, from Greek kataklusmos, from katakluzein, to inundate : kata-, intensive pref.; see cata- + kluzein, to wash away.
- catˌa·clysˈmic , catˌa·clysˈmal adjective
- catˌa·clysˈmi·cal·ly adverb