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

  • adj. Of, relating to, or involving a catastrophe.
  • adj. Involving or resulting in substantial, often ruinous medical expense: a catastrophic illness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or pertaining to a catastrophe.
  • adj. Disastrous; ruinous.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of a pertaining to a catastrophe.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to or of the nature of a catastrophe; cataclysmic.
  • Relating to or in conformity with the views of the catastrophists; cataclysmal.
  • Subversive in a momentous degree of settled usage or law.

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

  • adj. extremely harmful; bringing physical or financial ruin


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • However, if these two "perfect storms" happen to be political in nature, the term catastrophic may be a bit over the top, that is, unless the eyes of both storms happen to contain United States Representatives, Senators and the President.

    ChronWatch - Articles

  • These sober national security experts don't use the word "catastrophic" lightly.

    James Jay Carafano: New York Times Turns Blind Eye to EMP Threat

  • The Army Corps of Engineers says there has been what it called a catastrophic break at a lock along the Ohio River, the lock helped regulate river levels allowing boats and barges to get around the dams.

    CNN Transcript Sep 27, 2009

  • They're saying it could take a couple of days for that to happen, but if the winds don't cooperate, those three fires could merge and then you have what they call a catastrophic wildfire.

    CNN Transcript Oct 23, 2007

  • And Visillios Porgaiziz shared this shot from Marco Polo beach, north of Athens, a safe distance from the flames, but close enough to see what he calls the catastrophic nature of the disaster.

    CNN Transcript Aug 31, 2007

  • NICOLAS SARKOZY, FRANCE (through translator): An alternative which I call catastrophic, an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran.

    CNN Transcript Aug 28, 2007

  • VARGAS: "No End in Sight" a documentary by political scientist turned filmmaker Charles Ferguson details what he calls the catastrophic mistakes made by the Bush administration in Iraq.

    CNN Transcript Jul 27, 2007

  • VARGAS: "No End In Sight", a documentary by political scientist, turned filmmaker, Charles Ferguson, details what he calls the catastrophic mistakes made by the Bush administration in Iraq.

    CNN Transcript Jul 27, 2007

  • The president has now acknowledged he had a miscalculation, didn't plan appropriately for what he called a catastrophic success, the speedy destruction of Saddam Hussein's regime.

    CNN Transcript Sep 1, 2004

  • When we continue Ambassador Peter Galbraith will be here to talk about what he calls the catastrophic aftermath of the U.S. invasion in Iraq and what we can expect in his judgment in the months ahead.

    CNN Transcript Nov 4, 2004


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