Definition of cataclysmic in English:


Line breaks: cata|clys¦mic
Pronunciation: /katəˈklɪzmik


  • 1(Of a natural event) large-scale and violent: a cataclysmic earthquake
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    • Eventually the entire surface founders in a cataclysmic event, leading to volcanic resurfacing on a global scale, followed by tectonic deformation of some areas as the new surface settles down.
    • A cataclysmic event during this period detached most of the crystal groups from the cavern walls and ceiling.
    • Despite the world's brightest researchers, the latest GPS technology and powerful computer models, scientists cannot reliably forecast the cataclysmic geological events.
  • 1.1Causing sudden and violent upheaval: a novel about a cataclysmic world war
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    • When Marx and Engels turned their attention to the cataclysmic upheaval in India, they saw it in relation to similar developments taking place in other parts of the world.
    • A cataclysmic upheaval was experienced by the other princely families when the privy purses were abolished in 1971.
    • Our foreparents lived through sea changes, upheavals so cataclysmic, so devastating we may never appreciate the fortitude and resilience required to survive them.
  • 1.2 informal Used to emphasize the extent of something bad or unwelcome: the concert was a cataclysmic failure
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    • Anyone who watches such cataclysmic events unfold can somehow claim them as their own.
    • Others have experienced in their lives some sort of cataclysmic event, and now they make lots of money telling everyone else about it.
    • As she notes in her essay, individuals and groups generally draw on familiar ‘frames of acceptance’ in grappling with traumatic or cataclysmic events.



Pronunciation: /-ˈklɪzmɪk(ə)li/
More example sentences
  • Like the neighboring settlements at Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Oplontis, it was buried in volcanic ash when Vesuvius erupted cataclysmically in A.D. 79.
  • For changes can happen imperceptibly, but also cataclysmically.
  • The work was stylistically naive, but it was also passionate, content-charged, sometimes cataclysmically violent, and often evocative of altered-consciousness states like those familiar to consumers of mind-altering drugs.

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