Debacle Definition

dĭ-bäkəl, -băkəl, dĕbə-kəl
An overwhelming defeat or rout.
Webster's New World
A rush of debris-filled waters.
Webster's New World
A breaking up of ice in a river, etc.
Webster's New World
A total, often ludicrous, collapse or failure.
Webster's New World
A violent flood.
American Heritage

Other Word Forms of Debacle


dbcles, debacles

Origin of Debacle

  • From French débâcle, from débâcler (“to unbar; unleash”) from prefix dé- (“un-”) + bâcler (“to dash, bind, bar, block”), from Middle French, from Old French bâcler, bacler (“to hold in place, prop a door or window open”), from Middle Dutch bakkelen (“to freeze artificially, lock in place”), from bakken (“to stick, stick hard, glue together”). Also attested in Old French desbacler (“to clear a harbour by getting ships unloaded to make room for incoming ships with lading”) and in Occitan baclar (“to close”). Modern sense of "bar, block" stems from influence from Latin baculum (“staff”). The word débâcle is first attested in the early 19th century.

    From Wiktionary

  • French débâcle from débâcler to unbar from Old French desbacler des- de- bacler to bar (from Vulgar Latin bacculāre) (from Latin baculum rod bak- in Indo-European roots)

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition


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