Definition of calamity in English:

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Pronunciation: /kəˈlamɪti/

noun (plural calamities)

An event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster: emergency measures may be necessary in order to avert a calamity [mass noun]: the journey had led to calamity and ruin
More example sentences
  • Nearly every calamity and malady known to humankind has a saint to look after it.
  • Plan for stress, say the experts, just like you plan ahead for any calamity you want to avoid.
  • There were those indeed who believed this calamity marked the end of the world.
disaster, catastrophe, tragedy, cataclysm, devastating blow, crisis, adversity, blight, tribulation, woe, affliction, evil;
misfortune, misadventure, accident, stroke of bad luck, reverse of fortune, setback, mischance, mishap
British informal car crash
archaic bale
Scottish archaic mishanter


Late Middle English (in the sense 'disaster and distress'): from Old French calamite, from Latin calamitas.

  • This is from Old French calamite, from Latin calamitas ‘damage’, ‘disaster’, ‘adversity’. Latin writers thought this was from calamus ‘straw, corn stalk’ linked to damage to crops by bad weather, but this is doubtful.

Words that rhyme with calamity


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ca¦lam|ity

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