Catastrophe meaning

kə-tăs'trə-fē
Any great and sudden calamity, disaster, or misfortune.
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A disastrous end, bringing overthrow or ruin.
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A total or ignominious failure.
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A sudden, violent change, such as an earthquake.
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(mathematics) A type of bifurcation, where a system shifts between two stable states.
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The definition of a catastrophe is a large, often sudden, disaster or ending.

The Japan Earthquake of 2011 is an example of a catastrophe.

The story of Romeo and Juliet is an example of a catastrophe.

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(narratology) The dramatic event that initiates the resolution of the plot in a tragedy.
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A sudden violent change in the earth's surface; a cataclysm.
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The culminating event of a drama, esp. of a tragedy, by which the plot is resolved; denouement.
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(insurance) A disaster beyond expectations.
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A great, often sudden calamity.
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The concluding action of a drama, especially a classical tragedy, following the climax and containing a resolution of the plot.
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A complete failure; a fiasco.

The food was cold, the guests quarreled—the whole dinner was a catastrophe.

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Origin of catastrophe

  • Greek katastrophē an overturning, ruin, conclusion from katastrephein to ruin, undo kata- cata- strephein to turn streb(h)- in Indo-European roots
    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
  • From Ancient Greek καταστροφή (katastrophē), from καταστρέφω (katastrephō, “I overturn”), from κατά (kata, “down, against”) + στρέφω (strephō, “I turn”)
    From Wiktionary