Why was clemency trending last week?


[dey-bah-kuh l, -bak-uh l, duh-] /deɪˈbɑ kəl, -ˈbæk əl, də-/
a general breakup or dispersion; sudden downfall or rout:
The revolution ended in a debacle.
a complete collapse or failure.
a breaking up of ice in a river.
Compare embacle.
a violent rush of waters or ice.
Origin of debacle
1795-1805; < French débâcle, derivative of débâcler to unbar, clear, equivalent to dé- dis-1 + bâcler to bar ≪ Latin baculum stick, rod
2. disaster, ruin, fiasco, catastrophe, calamity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for debacle
  • I'd like to blame the airport's poor signage for this debacle, and I do a little.
  • The more people who see this, the more it may prevent a future debacle.
  • Scammers began seizing on the debacle, marketing fake antivirus services.
  • I've read that the algae oil production systems are about as efficient as the corn ethanol debacle.
  • The story has a couple interesting details about some of the personnel involved in the debacle, but no startling revelations.
  • During the "Flashdance" debacle we heard a similar back and forth.
  • He once saved 10 baby apples from almost certain death in an apple farm debacle.
  • The full bill for the debacle has yet to be presented to the taxpayer, but it will be considerable.
  • Some academics say warnings of a farm labor debacle are exaggerated.
  • The truth is, human folly is at the bottom of the debacle, not the greed of a particular group.
British Dictionary definitions for debacle


/deɪˈbɑːkəl; dɪ-/
a sudden disastrous collapse or defeat, esp one involving a disorderly retreat; rout
the breaking up of ice in a river during spring or summer, often causing flooding
a violent rush of water carrying along debris
Word Origin
C19: from French débâcle, from Old French desbacler to unbolt, ultimately from Latin baculum rod, staff
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for debacle

"disaster," 1848, from French débâcle "downfall, collapse, disaster" (17c.), a figurative use, literally "breaking up (of ice on a river)," extended to the violent flood that follows when the river ice melts in spring; from débâcler "to free," from Middle French desbacler "to unbar," from des- "off" + bacler "to bar," from Vulgar Latin *bacculare, from Latin baculum "stick" (see bacillus). Sense of "disaster" was present in French before English borrowed the word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for debacle

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for debacle

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with debacle

Nearby words for debacle