Definition of cataclysmic in English:



  • 1(of a natural event) large-scale and violent.

    ‘a cataclysmic earthquake’
    • ‘The cataclysmic event, which occurred last year on Jupiter's moon Io, ranks as the most powerful volcanic eruption ever recorded in the solar system.’
    • ‘Eventually the entire surface founders in a cataclysmic event, leading to volcanic resurfacing on a global scale, followed by tectonic deformation of some areas as the new surface settles down.’
    • ‘This is actually a series of papyri, which describe various cataclysmic events in Egypt - blood everywhere, people dying etc.’
    • ‘For instance, under the old paradigm, fire was considered a foe, a cataclysmic event not part of how nature works and therefore unnatural; consequently, forest managers responded with a policy of fire prevention.’
    • ‘A cataclysmic event during this period detached most of the crystal groups from the cavern walls and ceiling.’
    • ‘Despite the world's brightest researchers, the latest GPS technology and powerful computer models, scientists cannot reliably forecast the cataclysmic geological events.’
    • ‘The question of how stars die is currently a major focus of stellar research, and is particularly directed toward the energetic explosions that destroy a star in one cataclysmic event.’
    • ‘And all of them blissfully unaware that the cataclysmic events of the next ten years will change the world as they know it.’
    • ‘The cataclysmic event may have caused widespread extinction of the dinosaurs and three-fourths of Earth's living organisms.’
    • ‘Paleontologists recognize five cataclysmic episodes in Earth's history, times when 50 to 95 percent of existing species abruptly vanished.’
    • ‘And if you don't pay attention to the alarm sounded by the loss of a species then you run the risk of major, cataclysmic upheaval and suffering in the future.’
    • ‘It explores the environmental, political, economic and social impact of such a cataclysmic event.’
    disastrous, catastrophic, calamitous, tragic, devastating, ruinous, terrible, violent, awful
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    1. 1.1Causing sudden and violent upheaval.
      ‘a novel about a cataclysmic world war’
      • ‘For this date follows closely on one of the periods of cataclysmic events recorded in the northern hemisphere, a period of cultural collapse recorded from the Mediterranean to China, a period of massive migrations of people.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, his death triggered events which led to cataclysmic changes at every level of society, and in almost every country on earth.’
      • ‘A cataclysmic upheaval was experienced by the other princely families when the privy purses were abolished in 1971.’
      • ‘I believe, however, that ethnic cleansing is a useful and viable term for understanding not just the war in the former Yugoslavia but other similar cataclysmic events in the course of the twentieth century.’
      • ‘Our foreparents lived through sea changes, upheavals so cataclysmic, so devastating we may never appreciate the fortitude and resilience required to survive them.’
      • ‘Their claim to fame is nothing more than having been ordinary people bound up in the two cataclysmic events of the twentieth century - WWI and WWII.’
      • ‘Did you ever think in all your life, David, that in your lifetime the most cataclysmic event in the history of this country would happen and you would see it?’
      • ‘What happened on December 6, 1992 was not a breakdown of law and order; what happened was a cataclysmic event which was an outpouring of the anger of five centuries that nobody could have stopped.’
      • ‘When Marx and Engels turned their attention to the cataclysmic upheaval in India, they saw it in relation to similar developments taking place in other parts of the world.’
      • ‘Twentieth century's final years witnessed some cataclysmic events unprecedented in history.’
      • ‘The Depression was a cataclysmic event that did much to erode confidence in the middle class's dream of racial advancement through economic self-help.’
      disastrous, catastrophic, devastating, dire, tragic, fatal, ruinous, crippling, awful, dreadful, terrible, woeful, grievous
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    2. 1.2informal Used to emphasize the extent of something bad or unwelcome.
      ‘the concert was a cataclysmic failure’
      • ‘Others have experienced in their lives some sort of cataclysmic event, and now they make lots of money telling everyone else about it.’
      • ‘As she notes in her essay, individuals and groups generally draw on familiar ‘frames of acceptance’ in grappling with traumatic or cataclysmic events.’
      • ‘Anyone who watches such cataclysmic events unfold can somehow claim them as their own.’