act of god

Idioms & Phrases

act of God

An unforeseen and uncontrollable natural event, such as a hurricane, fire, or flood. For example, The publisher shall publish the work within twelve months except in case of delay caused by acts of God such as fires or floods or other circumstances beyond its control. It most often appears in legal contracts, where it is used to indemnify one party against a disaster that prevents it from carrying out the contract's terms. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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