Definition of cataclysm in English:

cataclysm

noun

  • 1A large-scale and violent event in the natural world:

    ‘the cataclysm at the end of the Cretaceous Period’
    • ‘The moon is made of the debris from the cosmic cataclysm.’
    • ‘In fact, their disappearance from the rocky strata was so abrupt that it signalled a cataclysm.’
    • ‘While, the countries of southeast Asia are counting the cost of the cataclysm, their economies are forecast to be further negatively impacted by the loss of tourism revenues.’
    • ‘Astrophysicists have been trying to detect such ‘gravitational waves,’ but the ripples from all but the, most violent cataclysms in the universe are imperceptible.’
    • ‘Nor does it take massive destruction or the organic cataclysm of advanced, systemic diseases, to fell us.’
    • ‘Bearing in mind that over 70 millennia have elapsed since the Toba cataclysm it would be no surprise, statistically speaking, if another super-eruption struck within the next hundred years.’
    • ‘So it seemed wise, even prudent, to seek counsel from the animal kingdom; these multifarious species, many of which predate humankind and have survived cataclysms far worse than our present imaginings.’
    • ‘In other recent asteroid collision news, the odds of a cataclysm caused by a asteroid striking the Earth have just been lowered.’
    • ‘Thus, the ultimate question of a gradual decline of dinosaurs vs. a sudden cataclysm is almost intractable without a wealth of good data.’
    • ‘I guess that every once in a while, we get a huge natural cataclysm to take the wind out of our sails, and to remind us of who's really in charge on this planet.’
    • ‘One writer described it as resembling a geological cataclysm.’
    • ‘These are not the victims of natural cataclysms, these are the victims of human greed for power, violence, stupidity, and of man's destructive impulses.’
    • ‘This is true for many of us in the West who have been truly fortunate to not have experienced any cataclysms for awhile.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, across the globe, there are thousands of families like his: slowly rebuilding, trying to make sense of a natural cataclysm which changed their lives forever.’
    • ‘Many have noticed that poorer nations are more severely affected by natural cataclysms than developed nations.’
    • ‘Uranus and Neptune might have formed at about the time of the suspected cataclysm, and maybe they dragged Kuiper belt objects into collision courses with the other members of the solar system.’
    • ‘Some people derived a great deal of excitement from predictions of the cataclysms that would herald the end times.’
    • ‘The Earth has suffered a massive cataclysm that has forced humanity to return to an incredibly primitive way of life.’
    1. 1.1 A sudden violent political or social upheaval:
      ‘the cataclysm of the First World War’
      • ‘The ‘long nineteenth century’ begins and ends in a cataclysm of war and revolution.’
      • ‘I imagine that the entire world except my tram, bus or train carriage was devastated in some cataclysm, leaving only these passengers to rebuild the world.’
      • ‘He has never written a poem that addresses, passionately, or engages with, his own country's terrible political state, the cataclysms for centuries.’
      • ‘Apparently, during the time directly following the political cataclysm in the GDR, the churches were mainly perceived and appreciated as public institutions.’
      • ‘Moreover, he doubts that it ever again will be - short of an economic cataclysm.’
      • ‘The reaction has been, at least in the media, as if a great cataclysm had swept the party.’
      • ‘It indicates that despite the political upheavals and cataclysms of the past decade, the core of military professionals, who constitute the nucleus of the Russian Armed Forces, has been preserved.’
      • ‘The mother becomes a drifter, finally offering her life in a revolutionary cataclysm that takes place in a banana republic wholly given over to violence and nihilism.’
      • ‘As the generation that had made or experienced the original cataclysm died away, historians began to appropriate it for analysis.’
      • ‘Military revolutions are cataclysms that reshape governments and societies as well as militaries.’
      • ‘Naturally, I suspect that all those taking part would have been perfectly horrified if anything like the drastic and negative economic cataclysms they spoke of with such relish actually happened to them.’
      • ‘The country, he writes, has exceeded its ‘limit for political and socio-economic upheavals, cataclysms and radical reforms.’’
      • ‘A cataclysm may change our system again, but I do not think so.’
      • ‘Since all subject matter shrinks to triviality when compared to the cataclysms of the Holocaust and the Gulag, it follows that a tragedy such as Macbeth is of limited relevance to our recent history.’
      • ‘The aesthetic revolutions of the 20th century, in painting, music and literature, reflected the galvanizing cataclysms of the times - the world wars, the Holocaust, the nuclear peril.’
      • ‘The forecasts of the economists surveyed by the professor are unremarkable: they do not anticipate any great cataclysms of war, revolution, depression, technological breakthroughs, or ecological collapse.’
      disaster, catastrophe, calamity, tragedy, act of god, devastation, crisis, holocaust, ruin, ruination, upheaval, convulsion, blow, shock, reverse, trouble, trial, tribulation
      misfortune, mishap, accident, mischance, misadventure, woe, affliction, distress
      meltdown, whammy
      car crash
      bale
      mishanter
      View synonyms

Origin

Early 17th century (originally denoting the biblical Flood described in Genesis): from French cataclysme, via Latin from Greek kataklusmos deluge, from kata- down + kluzein to wash.

Pronunciation:

cataclysm

/ˈkatəˌklɪz(ə)m/