Definition of disaster in English:


Syllabification: dis·as·ter
Pronunciation: /diˈzastər


  • 1A sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, that causes great damage or loss of life: 159 people died in the disaster disaster struck within minutes of takeoff
    More example sentences
    • Hurricane Katrina will be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history by a factor of five.
    • The horrific devastation caused by this tsunami may be the worst natural disaster in recent history.
    • And President Bush is offering U.S. aid and condolences to people affected by the Asian tsunami disaster.
  • 1.1 [as modifier] Denoting a genre of films that use natural or accidental catastrophe as the mainspring of plot and setting: a disaster movie
    More example sentences
    • This disc is worth at least a rental, and if you're a fan of disaster type flicks, a purchase.
    • It felt like trespassing onto the film set of a disaster movie.
    • It's only a matter of time before we're treated to a World Trade Center disaster film.
  • 1.2An event or fact that has unfortunate consequences: a string of personal disasters reduced legal aid could spell financial disaster
    More example sentences
    • But a series of personal disasters and financial ruin triggered a mental disorder that was to turn the father of two into a killer.
    • The suite contains the computers and equipment necessary to help a small business function in the event of a company disaster.
    • It was recognised as such by the Iraqi people, but the subsequent handling of events was a disaster.
    misfortune, mishap, misadventure, mischance, setback, reversal, stroke of bad luck, blow
  • 1.3 informal A person, act, or thing that is a failure: my perm is a total disaster
    More example sentences
    • And it was fine for all the media celebs to go to a ball game but it was a total disaster for Kerry to do so.
    • He's had a very hard time. His current situation is a total disaster.
    • Maize, a relatively new crop, is looking like a total disaster, according to Mr Dempsey.
    failure, fiasco, catastrophe, debacle
    informal flop, megaflop, dud, bomb, washout, dog, turkey, dead loss, train wreck


be a recipe for disaster

Be extremely likely to have unfortunate consequences: sky-high interest rates are a recipe for disaster
More example sentences
  • Split-second decision making without thinking about the consequences is a recipe for disaster.
  • Extremism and terrorism is a recipe for disaster, and will destroy this extraordinary alliance against U.S. imperialism.
  • Your desperate craving to make a good impression, coupled with your extreme nervousness, is a recipe for disaster.


late 16th century: from Italian disastro 'ill-starred event', from dis- (expressing negation) + astro 'star' (from Latin astrum).

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Word of the day grotesquerie
Pronunciation: grəʊˈtɛskəri
grotesque quality or grotesque things collectively