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disaster

[dih-zas-ter, -zah-ster] /dɪˈzæs tər, -ˈzɑ stər/
noun
1.
a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure.
2.
Obsolete. an unfavorable aspect of a star or planet.
Origin of disaster
1585-1595
1585-95; < Middle French desastre < Italian disastro, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + astro star < Latin astrum < Greek ástron
Related forms
predisaster, noun
Synonyms
1. mischance, misfortune, misadventure, mishap, accident, blow, reverse, adversity, affliction. Disaster, calamity, catastrophe, cataclysm refer to adverse happenings often occurring suddenly and unexpectedly. A disaster may be caused by carelessness, negligence, bad judgment, or the like, or by natural forces, as a hurricane or flood: a railroad disaster. Calamity suggests great affliction, either personal or general; the emphasis is on the grief or sorrow caused: the calamity of losing a child. Catastrophe refers especially to the tragic outcome of a personal or public situation; the emphasis is on the destruction or irreplaceable loss: the catastrophe of a defeat in battle. Cataclysm, physically an earth-shaking change, refers to a personal or public upheaval of unparalleled violence: a cataclysm that turned his life in a new direction.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for disaster
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We have been informed that the disaster had been most severe.

    The Forty-Five Guardsmen Alexandre Dumas
  • On Sidney—and in less measure, of course, on K.—fell the real brunt of the disaster.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Vetch heard through the fog guns firing signals of distress; but three days passed before he knew how serious the disaster was.

  • So he caught their minds as he had caught the Stick, swinging back from disaster.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • Unnerved as she had first been by the disaster, she realized that to give way to her trouble would not do the least bit of good.

    Ruth Fielding Down East Alice B. Emerson
British Dictionary definitions for disaster

disaster

/dɪˈzɑːstə/
noun
1.
an occurrence that causes great distress or destruction
2.
a thing, project, etc, that fails or has been ruined
Derived Forms
disastrous, adjective
Word Origin
C16 (originally in the sense: malevolent astral influence): from Italian disastro, from dis- (pejorative) + astro star, from Latin astrum, from Greek astron
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
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Word Origin and History for disaster
n.

1590s, from Middle French désastre (1560s), from Italian disastro "ill-starred," from dis-, here merely pejorative (see dis-) + astro "star, planet," from Latin astrum, from Greek astron (see star (n.)). The sense is astrological, of a calamity blamed on an unfavorable position of a planet.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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9
9
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