from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A great, often sudden calamity.
- n. A complete failure; a fiasco: The food was cold, the guests quarreled—the whole dinner was a catastrophe.
- n. The concluding action of a drama, especially a classical tragedy, following the climax and containing a resolution of the plot.
- n. A sudden violent change in the earth's surface; a cataclysm.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Any large and disastrous event of great significance.
- n. A disaster beyond expectations
- n. The dramatic event that initiates the resolution of the plot in a tragedy.
- n. A type of bifurcation, where a system shifts between two stable states.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. An event producing a subversion of the order or system of things; a final event, usually of a calamitous or disastrous nature; hence, sudden calamity; great misfortune.
- n. The final event in a romance or a dramatic piece; a denouement, as a death in a tragedy, or a marriage in a comedy.
- n. A violent and widely extended change in the surface of the earth, .
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The arrangement of actions or interconnection of causes which constitutes the final event of a dramatic piece; the unfolding and winding up of the plot, clearing up difficulties, and closing the play; the dénouement.
- n. A notable event terminating a connected series; a finishing stroke or wind-up; specifically, an unfortunate conclusion; hence, any great calamity or disaster, especially one happening suddenly or from an irresistible cause.
- n. In geology, an occurrence of geological importance not in harmony with preceding events, and not the result of causes acting always in a given direction; a cataclysm.
- n. Synonyms Disaster, Calamity, etc. (see mis-fortune); consummation, finale.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. an event resulting in great loss and misfortune
- n. a state of extreme (usually irremediable) ruin and misfortune
- n. a sudden violent change in the earth's surface
Greek katastrophē, an overturning, ruin, conclusion, from katastrephein, to ruin, undo : kata-, cata- + strephein, to turn; see streb(h)- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek καταστροφή (katastrophē), from καταστρέφω (katastrephō, "I overturn"), from κατά (kata, "down, against") + στρέφω (strephō, "I turn") (Wiktionary)