catastrophe

[kuh-tas-truh-fee]
noun
1.
a sudden and widespread disaster: the catastrophe of war.
2.
any misfortune, mishap, or failure; fiasco: The play was so poor our whole evening was a catastrophe.
3.
a final event or conclusion, usually an unfortunate one; a disastrous end: the great catastrophe of the Old South at Appomattox.
4.
(in a drama) the point at which the circumstances overcome the central motive, introducing the close or conclusion; dénouement. Compare catastasis, epitasis, protasis.
5.
Geology. a sudden, violent disturbance, especially of a part of the surface of the earth; cataclysm.
6.
Also called catastrophe function. Mathematics. any of the mathematical functions that describe the discontinuities that are treated in catastrophe theory.

Origin:
1570–80; < Greek katastrophḗ an overturning, akin to katastréphein to overturn. See cata-, strophe

catastrophic [kat-uh-strof-ik] , catastrophical, catastrophal, adjective
supercatastrophe, noun


1. misfortune, calamity. 1, 3. See disaster.


1, 3. triumph.
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World English Dictionary
catastrophe (kəˈtæstrəfɪ)
 
n
1.  a sudden, extensive, or notable disaster or misfortune
2.  the denouement of a play, esp a classical tragedy
3.  a final decisive event, usually causing a disastrous end
4.  Also called: cataclysm any sudden and violent change in the earth's surface caused by flooding, earthquake, or some other rapid process
 
[C16: from Greek katastrophē, from katastrephein to overturn, from strephein to turn]
 
catastrophic
 
adj
 
cata'strophically
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

catastrophe
1540, "reversal of what is expected" (especially a fatal turning point in a drama), from Gk. katastrephein "to overturn," from kata "down" + strephein "turn" (see strophe). Extension to "sudden disaster" is first recorded 1748.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Nor is he notable for the violence or sensationalism of his catastrophes.
The same fabulous exploits, the same catastrophes, the same heroes.
We simply don't have the resources to prevent all catastrophes and still allow
  for innovation and calculated risk-taking.
In fact earthly life has survived billions of years in spite of many
  catastrophes.
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