from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A great, often sudden calamity.
  • noun A complete failure; a fiasco.
  • noun The concluding action of a drama, especially a classical tragedy, following the climax and containing a resolution of the plot.
  • noun A sudden violent change in the earth's surface; a cataclysm.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Synonyms Disaster, Calamity, etc. (see mis-fortune); consummation, finale.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun 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.
  • noun The final event in a romance or a dramatic piece; a denouement, as a death in a tragedy, or a marriage in a comedy.
  • noun (Geol.) A violent and widely extended change in the surface of the earth, .

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any large and disastrous event of great significance.
  • noun insurance A disaster beyond expectations
  • noun narratology The dramatic event that initiates the resolution of the plot in a tragedy.
  • noun mathematics A type of bifurcation, where a system shifts between two stable states.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an event resulting in great loss and misfortune
  • noun a state of extreme (usually irremediable) ruin and misfortune
  • noun a sudden violent change in the earth's surface


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

[Greek katastrophē, an overturning, ruin, conclusion, from katastrephein, to ruin, undo : kata-, cata- + strephein, to turn; see streb(h)- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek καταστροφή (katastrophē), from καταστρέφω (katastrephō, "I overturn"), from κατά (kata, "down, against") + στρέφω (strephō, "I turn")


    Sorry, no example sentences found.


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  • Etymologically: kata-strophe, a down-turning.

    September 7, 2009