from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The intensified part of the action directly preceding the catastrophe in classical tragedy.
  • n. The climax of a drama.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. In classical drama, the third and penultimate section, in which action is heightened for the catastrophe.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That part of a speech, usually the exordium, in which the orator sets forth the subject matter to be discussed.
  • n. The state, or condition of anything; constitution; habit of body.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In rhetoric, that part of the exordium in which the speaker seeks to dispose his hearers to a view of the case favorable to his own side, especially by removing from their minds what might prejudice them against it.
  • n. That part of the Greek drama in which the action, initiated in the epitasis, is sustained, continued, and prepared for the catastrophe.
  • n. In medicine, constitution, state, or condition.


Greek katastasis, settled state, from kathistanai, to come into a certain state : kat-, kata-, cata- + histanai, to set; see stā- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek κατάστασις ("settling, appointment"). (Wiktionary)


  • It doubles itself in the middle of his life, reflects itself in another, repeats itself, protasis, epitasis, catastasis, catastrophe.


  • Consider therefore this pitiable Twentieth of June as a futility; no catastrophe, rather a catastasis, or heightening.

    The French Revolution

  • Raise the interest rates but also curb the usury that sends people into a financial catastasis.

    Drudge Retort


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