Catastrophe definition

kə-tăstrə-fē
Frequency:
Any great and sudden calamity, disaster, or misfortune.
noun
43
6
A disastrous end, bringing overthrow or ruin.
noun
17
8
A total or ignominious failure.
noun
19
11
(geol.) A sudden, violent change, such as an earthquake.
noun
15
11
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.

noun
3
0
Advertisement
The culminating event of a drama, esp. of a tragedy, by which the plot is resolved; denouement.
noun
4
2
noun
2
0
(insurance) A disaster beyond expectations.
noun
2
0
A great, often sudden calamity.
noun
9
8
(narratology) The dramatic event that initiates the resolution of the plot in a tragedy.
noun
1
0
Advertisement
A sudden violent change in the earth's surface; a cataclysm.
noun
2
2
(mathematics) A type of bifurcation, where a system shifts between two stable states.
noun
0
0
The concluding action of a drama, especially a classical tragedy, following the climax and containing a resolution of the plot.
noun
1
7
A complete failure; a fiasco.

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

noun
1
8

Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
catastrophe
Plural:
catastrophes

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