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Definition of 'disaster'

A profound and often devastating event or circumstance that brings about widespread destruction, suffering, or loss.
"The oil spill in the ocean was an ecological disaster, causing immense harm to marine life."

Detailed Meaning of 'disaster'

It is an occurrence that disrupts the normal functioning of a community, region, or even an entire nation. Disasters can take various forms, including natural calamities like earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires, as well as human-made catastrophes such as industrial accidents, terrorist attacks, or pandemics. The aftermath of a disaster typically entails significant damage to infrastructure, loss of life, displacement of people, and a profound impact on the social, economic, and environmental fabric of the affected area. Disasters often require emergency response efforts, humanitarian aid, and long-term recovery and rebuilding measures to restore normalcy and help communities heal.


Examples of 'disaster' in a Sentence

1. The earthquake left behind a trail of destruction and marked the beginning of a humanitarian disaster.
2. The wildfire engulfed the forest, turning it into an environmental disaster.
3. The floodwaters surged through the town, causing a widespread disaster and forcing residents to evacuate.
4. The factory explosion resulted in a tragic industrial disaster, claiming several lives and injuring many others.
5. The pandemic proved to be a global disaster, affecting millions of people and disrupting economies worldwide.
6. The hurricane tore through the coastal region, leaving a path of devastation in its wake and resulting in a natural disaster declaration.

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Origins & Etymology of 'disaster'

The noun 'disaster' traces its origins to the Italian word 'disastro,' which is a combination of 'dis,' meaning 'badly,' and 'astro,' meaning 'star.' In its etymology, 'disaster' literally means 'bad star' or 'ill-fated star.' This term reflects an ancient belief that the positions and movements of celestial bodies, particularly stars, could influence human affairs and events on Earth. A disaster was seen as an unfortunate occurrence brought about by the unfavorable alignment of the stars. Over time, the word 'disaster' evolved to describe profound and often devastating events or circumstances that bring about widespread destruction, suffering, or loss, irrespective of any celestial influence. The etymology of 'disaster' highlights the historical connection between calamitous events and the belief in the influence of celestial bodies on human destinies.

How to pronounce disaster (audio)


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