cataclysm

[kat-uh-kliz-uhm]
noun
1.
any violent upheaval, especially one of a social or political nature.
2.
Physical Geography. a sudden and violent physical action producing changes in the earth's surface.
3.
an extensive flood; deluge.

Origin:
1625–35; < Late Latin cataclysmos (Vulgate) < Greek kataklysmós flood (akin to kataklýzein to flood), equivalent to kata- cata- + klysmós a washing

cataclysm, catechism.


1. See disaster.
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World English Dictionary
cataclysm (ˈkætəˌklɪzəm)
 
n
1.  a violent upheaval, esp of a political, military, or social nature
2.  a disastrous flood; deluge
3.  geology another name for catastrophe
 
[C17: via French from Latin, from Greek kataklusmos deluge, from katakluzein to flood, from kluzein to wash]
 
cata'clysmic
 
adj
 
cata'clysmal
 
adj
 
cata'clysmically
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

cataclysm
1633, from Fr. cataclysme, from L. cataclysmos, from Gk. kataklysmos, from kata "down" + klyzein "to wash." Cataclysmic is attested from 1851.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The immediate cause for this cataclysm was the recession.
One is that they formed along with the stars long ago, and somehow survived
  this cataclysm.
But the idea that you need to invent some convenient cataclysm to restore order
  seems foolhardy.
It's that once-in-a-lifetime cataclysm you can't possibly prepare for, because
  you could never predict it would happen.
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