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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
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 disasters
  • When it comes to natural disasters, every region has its crosses to bear.
  • We must therefore cure ourselves of the vanity which has caused us so many disasters.
  • Fortune always leaves some door open in disasters whereby to come at a remedy.
  • It was an almost unheard-of thing that the general disasters of the state should disarrange his life.
  • In a course of time, so vast between these two periods, many have been the blows and disasters suffered on each side.
  • And this freedom of speech was, indeed, the cause of many of his disasters.
  • We came across only too plain evidence of the disasters always hanging over the wilderness folk.
  • The economic impact of natural disasters is often short-lived.
  • Yet, this month's disasters underscore how much more the system still needs to change-along with the politicians guiding it.
  • Only disasters of this magnitude actually damage the power plants, and the occurrences of disasters are a rarity.
British Dictionary definitions for disasters

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 disasters

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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10
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