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

  • noun An occurrence causing widespread destruction and distress; a catastrophe.
  • noun A grave misfortune.
  • noun Informal A total failure.
  • noun Obsolete An evil influence of a star or planet.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To blast by the stroke of an unlucky planet. Spenser.
  • To injure; afflict.
  • To blemish; disfigure.
  • noun . An unfavorable aspect of a star or planet; an ill portent; a blast or stroke of an unfavorable planet.
  • noun Misfortune; mishap; calamity; any unfortunate event; especially, a sudden or great misfortune: a word used with much latitude, but most appropriately for some unforeseen event of a very distressing or overwhelming nature.
  • noun Synonyms Calamity, Catastrophe, etc. (see misfortune); blow, stroke, reverse.

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

  • noun obsolete An unpropitious or baleful aspect of a planet or star; malevolent influence of a heavenly body; hence, an ill portent.
  • noun An adverse or unfortunate event, esp. a sudden and extraordinary misfortune; a calamity; a serious mishap.
  • transitive verb obsolete To blast by the influence of a baleful star.
  • transitive verb rare To bring harm upon; to injure.

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

  • noun An unexpected natural or man-made catastrophe of substantial extent causing significant physical damage or destruction, loss of life or sometimes permanent change to the natural environment.
  • noun An unforeseen event causing great loss, upset or unpleasantness of whatever kind.

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 an act that has disastrous consequences


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

[French désastre, from Italian disastro : dis-, pejorative pref. (from Latin dis-; see dis–) + astro, star (from Latin astrum, from Greek astron; see ster- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French desastre, from Italian disastro, from dis- + astro ("star"), from Latin astrum ("star"), from Ancient Greek ἄστρον (astron, "star"), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂stḗr.


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