disaster


disaster
disaster, calamity, catastrophe, cataclysm are comparable when they denote an event or situation that is regarded as a terrible misfortune.
A disaster is an unforeseen mischance or misadventure (as a shipwreck, a serious railroad accident, or the failure of a great enterprise) which happens either through culpable lack of foresight or through adverse external agency and brings with it destruction (as of life and property) or ruin (as of projects, careers, or great hopes)
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such a war would be the final and supreme disaster to the world— MacLeish

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Calamity is a grievous misfortune, particularly one which involves a great or far-reaching personal or public loss or which produces profound, often widespread distress; thus, the rout at Bull Run was a disaster for the North but the assassination of President Lincoln was a calamity; the wreck of the Don Juan was a disaster and, as involving the loss of Shelley, it was a calamity
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we have heard of his decision .... It is a disaster—for me a calamityGalsworthy

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Hamlet's bloody stage is now our world, and we are beginning to trace our own calamity back to its sources— Battenhouse

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Catastrophe is used of a disastrous conclusion; it often emphasizes the idea of finality
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the captain's folly hastened the catastrophe

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what had become of them [the inhabitants of a deserted village]? What catastrophe had overwhelmed them?— Cather

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Cataclysm is often used of an event or situation that brings with it an overwhelming of the old order or a violent social or political upheaval
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in the general upheaval of doctrine . . . during the Reformation cataclysmBlunt

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a thought so imperishably phrased that it sums up not only the cataclysm of a world, but also the stoic and indomitable temper that endures it— Lowes

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Analogous words: mishap, *accident, casualty: adversity, *misfortune, mischance

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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  • disaster — di‧sas‧ter [dɪˈzɑːstə ǁ dɪˈzæstər] noun [countable, uncountable] 1. a sudden event such as a flood, storm, or accident which causes great damage or suffering: • 100 people died in the mining disaster. • Hurricane Katrina was the worst natural… …   Financial and business terms

  • Disaster — Dis*as ter, n. [F. d[ e]sastre; pref. d[ e]s (L. dis ) + astre star, fr. L. astrum; a word of astrological origin. See {Aster}, {Astral}, {Star}.] 1. An unpropitious or baleful aspect of a planet or star; malevolent influence of a heavenly body;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • disaster — I noun adversity, affliction, bale, bane, blight, blunder, breakdown, brutum fulmen, calamitas, calamity, casualty, cataclysm, catastrophe, clades, collapse, contretemps, crushing reverse, deabacle, devastation, downfall, emergency, extremity,… …   Law dictionary

  • disaster — [di zas′tər, dizäs′tər; ] also [ dis as′tər, disäs′tər] n. [OFr desastre < It disastro < L dis + astrum < Gr astron (see ASTRAL), star: from astrological notions: cf. ILL STARRED] any happening that causes great harm or damage; serious… …   English World dictionary

  • Disaster — Dis*as ter, v. t. 1. To blast by the influence of a baleful star. [Obs.] Sir P. Sidney. [1913 Webster] 2. To bring harm upon; to injure. [R.] Thomson. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • disaster — 1590s, from M.Fr. désastre (1560s), from It. disastro ill starred, from dis , here merely pejorative (see DIS (Cf. dis )) + astro star, planet, from L. astrum, from Gk. astron (see STAR (Cf. star)). The sense is astrological, of a calamity blamed …   Etymology dictionary

  • disaster — [n] accident, trouble act of God*, adversity, affliction, bad luck, bad news*, bale, bane, blight, blow, bust, calamity, casualty, cataclysm, catastrophe, collapse, collision, crash, debacle, defeat, depression, emergency, exigency, failure, fall …   New thesaurus

  • disaster — ► NOUN 1) a sudden accident or a natural catastrophe that causes great damage or loss of life. 2) an event or fact leading to ruin or failure. ORIGIN Italian disastro ill starred event , from Latin astrum star …   English terms dictionary


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