Definition of catastrophe in English:


Syllabification: ca·tas·tro·phe
Pronunciation: /kəˈtastrəfē


1An event causing great and often sudden damage or suffering; a disaster: a national economic catastrophe leading the world to catastrophe
More example sentences
  • Before this year of disasters even began, it was heralded by a natural catastrophe as sudden and violent as anything that followed.
  • Had they been accepted we would have had a local environmental catastrophe and a national commercial disaster.
  • This would be a cautionary tale of catastrophes narrowly averted and environmental damage now emerging.
disaster, calamity, cataclysm, holocaust, havoc, ruin, ruination, tragedy;
adversity, blight, trouble, trial, tribulation
1.1The denouement of a drama, especially a classical tragedy.
More example sentences
  • This is an old insight, of course - as old as the domestic catastrophes of classical Greek drama.


mid 16th century (in the sense 'denouement'): from Latin catastropha, from Greek katastrophē 'overturning, sudden turn', from kata- 'down' + strophē 'turning' (from strephein 'to turn').

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