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Definition of 'catastrophe'

A severe and often sudden event or situation that causes widespread destruction, suffering, or loss.
"The oil spill caused an environmental catastrophe, devastating marine life."

Detailed Meaning of 'catastrophe'

It signifies a disastrous or catastrophic event that leads to significant negative consequences, whether physical, social, or emotional. A catastrophe can manifest in various forms, such as natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods, or human-made disasters like wars, accidents, or large-scale emergencies. The impact of a catastrophe is often far-reaching, affecting communities, regions, or even entire nations. It involves immense damage, disruption, and often a high toll on human lives, infrastructure, ecosystems, and economies. The term 'catastrophe' carries a sense of grave danger, overwhelming scale, and the need for urgent response and recovery. It serves as a reminder of the vulnerability of human existence and the importance of preparedness, resilience, and support in the face of unexpected and devastating events.


Examples of 'catastrophe' in a Sentence

1. The earthquake was a catastrophe, turning cities into rubble within moments.
2. In 1815, the Tambora eruption became a world-altering catastrophe.
3. A flood, a horrific catastrophe, left the town submerged and people homeless.
4. The catastrophe’s impact stretched globally, touching every continent ardently.
5. The nuclear meltdown was an unprecedented catastrophe, echoing for decades.
6. A catastrophe of this magnitude demanded international collaborative recovery.

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Origins & Etymology of 'catastrophe'

The noun 'catastrophe' has its roots in ancient Greek. It is derived from the Greek word 'katastrophē,' which means 'an overturning' or 'a sudden turn.' This term is formed from 'kata,' meaning 'down' or 'completely,' and 'strophē,' meaning 'a turning.' In ancient Greek drama, a 'catastrophe' referred to the final part of a play where the plot took a sudden and often tragic turn, leading to the resolution of the story. Over time, the word 'catastrophe' came to be used more broadly to describe any severe and often sudden event or situation that causes widespread destruction, suffering, or loss. Its etymology underscores the dramatic and unforeseen nature of such events, highlighting the dramatic turning point or overturning of circumstances that can lead to catastrophic outcomes.

How to pronounce catastrophe (audio)


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