[dey-bah-kuhl, -bak-uhl, duh-]
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.

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. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
debacle (deɪˈbɑːkəl, dɪ-)
1.  a sudden disastrous collapse or defeat, esp one involving a disorderly retreat; rout
2.  the breaking up of ice in a river during spring or summer, often causing flooding
3.  a violent rush of water carrying along debris
[C19: from French débâcle, from Old French desbacler to unbolt, ultimately from Latin baculum rod, staff]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"disaster," 1848, fig. use of Fr. débâcle "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 M.Fr. desbacler "to unbar," from des- "off" + bacler "to bar," from V.L. *bacculare, from L.
baculum "stick." Sense of "disaster" was present in Fr. before Eng. borrowed the word.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
I'd like to blame the airport's poor signage for this debacle, and I do a
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.
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