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catastrophe

ca·tas·tro·phe

catastrophe

 
 
pronunciation:
k tae str fi
features:
Word History, Word Explorer, Word Parts
part of speech: noun
definition: an event that brings great harm, suffering, or loss to a large area or many people; terrible disaster.
The earthquake was a catastrophe that destroyed many cities.
 
synonyms:
calamity, disaster
similar words:
ruin, tragedy
derivations: catastrophic (adj.), catastrophically (adv.)
Word History
Catastrophe is from a Greek word that means "overturning" or complete change. It referred to the ending of a play, or the outcome of certain events. The ending could be either happy or tragic. "Catastrophe" is now mostly used for a tragic event.
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