Definition of disaster in English:

disaster

noun

  • 1A sudden accident or a natural catastrophe that causes great damage or loss of life.

    ‘159 people died in the disaster’
    mass noun ‘disaster struck within minutes of take-off’
    • ‘Hurricane Katrina will be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history by a factor of five.’
    • ‘In 1957 a train disaster affected the lives of many people who lived in south London and Kent.’
    • ‘The pilots managed to avert a total disaster by using the engine's throttles to steer the plane.’
    • ‘A disaster on the scale of 9/11 or hurricane Katrina disturbs all certainties.’
    • ‘The horrific devastation caused by this tsunami may be the worst natural disaster in recent history.’
    • ‘Facing a disaster of such magnitude, understandably the government was unprepared and initially lost touch.’
    • ‘Our topic was inspired by the extensive news coverage of the space shuttle disaster.’
    • ‘When Mozambique was struck by a flood disaster in 1999, over a million people lost their homes.’
    • ‘Whenever a major disaster strikes, the public is confronted with all sorts of unpleasantness.’
    • ‘You know, we just don't cope with disasters on this scale.’
    • ‘Technically, the rescued worms were not the worms that survived the shuttle disaster.’
    • ‘A disaster of this magnitude is one of those defining moments in local television.’
    • ‘Does it take a disaster of these proportions to convince us all to give so freely?’
    • ‘The Hatfield rail disaster occurred while Hall was working on his adaptation, and it shows.’
    • ‘Pete has a meditation on the space shuttle disaster.’
    • ‘Similar ecological disasters have occurred in other parts of the world too.’
    • ‘But clearly, a disaster of a proportion he had never had to deal with was unfolding.’
    • ‘"We did have a disaster recovery plan in place, " Bob says.’
    • ‘Children are those who are most prone to disasters like earthquake, fire and flood.’
    • ‘And President Bush is offering U.S. aid and condolences to people affected by the Asian tsunami disaster.’
    catastrophe, calamity, cataclysm, tragedy, act of god, holocaust
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1as modifier Denoting a genre of films that use natural or accidental catastrophe as the mainspring of plot and setting.
      ‘a disaster movie’
      • ‘This disc is worth at least a rental, and if you're a fan of disaster type flicks, a purchase.’
      • ‘Like the moment in seminal disaster movie Twister when the tornado vanishes in a whisper, the fight was over.’
      • ‘I felt like I was in some cheesy disaster movie, debating who got to sacrifice their life for the safety of the others.’
      • ‘But there is a real life disaster movie in the offing - so we better start acting.’
      • ‘Not being a connoisseur of disaster movies, I'll leave it to others to decide if it's a good film.’
      • ‘It felt like trespassing onto the film set of a disaster movie.’
      • ‘Until last Sunday, such incidents were largely confined to Hollywood disaster movies.’
      • ‘It's only a matter of time before we're treated to a World Trade Center disaster film.’
      • ‘We are used to Hollywood disaster movies, but this has been far worse, for real.’
      • ‘I feel like a bit part player in a cheesy American disaster movie, only this time Bruce Willis didn't show up.’
      • ‘Like the best disaster film that's never been made, but no hero to give us the happy ending.’
      • ‘Perhaps it was a mistake for 20th Century Fox to invite a group of scientists to the preview of its new disaster movie.’
      • ‘If you like cheesy disaster movies and idealistic costume drama, this is the hybrid for you!’
      • ‘At that time, we were doing Goddard and Fellini at film school and we weren't into Irvin Allen's disaster films.’
      • ‘Well, sure, cliched and formulaic is pretty standard for disaster movies generally.’
      • ‘It did seem at times like a disaster movie we'd been through before.’
      • ‘It is a situation that outdoes any Hollywood disaster movie script in drama, surreality, and potential horror.’
      • ‘He is one of the most talented figures in the history of matte painting and a central figure in the disaster films of the 70s.’
      • ‘I became frustrated that the only comparisons and references my brain threw up were of disaster movies.’
      • ‘It starts where such disaster movies always should: what if you woke up one day and everyone else had gone?’
    2. 1.2 An event or fact that has unfortunate consequences.
      ‘a string of personal disasters’
      mass noun ‘reduced legal aid could spell financial disaster’
      • ‘Unfortunately, data disasters are more likely to occur on systems relying on older or used hardware.’
      • ‘Since then I've seen two financial disasters and a terrible fire.’
      • ‘So lets forget my own personal disasters and get on with the business at hand, that is voting on tomorrows story, start voting now.’
      • ‘But a series of personal disasters and financial ruin triggered a mental disorder that was to turn the father of two into a killer.’
      • ‘It has got me into trouble in the past and I'm never far away from having mini financial disasters.’
      • ‘For the less strong, it can be a torment and a prelude to personal disaster.’
      • ‘Fears may be exaggerated, but unless companies are completely open, they face potential PR disasters ahead.’
      • ‘The suite contains the computers and equipment necessary to help a small business function in the event of a company disaster.’
      • ‘I know about previous squabbles and financial disasters that affected the club.’
      • ‘National members face a disaster, in fact, as they try to explain what it is they intend to do.’
      • ‘The financial disasters are directly traceable to the cultural and ideological catastrophes which these films represent.’
      • ‘Critics argue it was only Lottery money and government cash that prevented the Games from being a financial disaster.’
      • ‘It was recognised as such by the Iraqi people, but the subsequent handling of events was a disaster.’
      • ‘Will the new members fall in line, or will they team up with France and Spain to maintain these hideous financial disasters?’
      • ‘Nor is the bank rushing blindly into disaster in the event of a bid succeeding.’
      • ‘One type would work in a coaching role and the other act as a referee in the firm to prevent Scottish businesses from suffering Enron style disasters.’
      • ‘The university had a public relations disaster on its hands.’
      • ‘Three of the properties so far have been financial disasters.’
      • ‘After a decade marked by financial disasters and bank failures, the era of unquestioned profit-making would appear to be at an end.’
      • ‘But as his career took off, the personal disasters continued to mount.’
    3. 1.3informal A person or thing that is a complete failure.
      ‘lunch had turned out to be a total disaster’
      • ‘India's reply was a total disaster, with wickets falling too rapidly due to run-outs.’
      • ‘I went on my first date in 7 years 2 weeks ago - what a total, unmitigated disaster!’
      • ‘Still, he thought watching mummy play hopscotch was hilarious, so it wasn't a total disaster.’
      • ‘But how else can I understand the fact that my panel session was a total disaster?’
      • ‘That dinner turned into a total disaster and for one whole month, she was in grief.’
      • ‘Would there be any way of getting rid of them if they were a total disaster?’
      • ‘He, of course, is far worse, a disaster in the making.’
      • ‘Because as we all know, this Budget has been a total disaster for the Labour Government.’
      • ‘On Saturday, I picked up some cool rocket balloons for the kids which turned out to be a total disaster.’
      • ‘Your mayoralty has been from start ' till now a disaster in the making.’
      • ‘And it was fine for all the media celebs to go to a ball game but it was a total disaster for Kerry to do so.’
      • ‘It might be that the first idea was a total disaster and if so drop it and move on.’
      • ‘He's had a very hard time. His current situation is a total disaster.’
      • ‘Maize, a relatively new crop, is looking like a total disaster, according to Mr Dempsey.’
      • ‘Last time I attempted the gym it was a total disaster.’
      • ‘I was a total disaster in the shop and I realised that I was going to have to do something else.’
      • ‘This is a very sad collection of songs put together, but what was a second rate band in their heyday is a total disaster today.’
      • ‘They will have to believe that they do because it's their last chance of ensuring that their season is not a total disaster.’
      failure, fiasco, catastrophe, mess, debacle
      View synonyms

Origin

Late 16th century: from Italian disastro ‘ill-starred event’, from dis- (expressing negation) + astro ‘star’ (from Latin astrum).

Pronunciation

disaster

/dɪˈzɑːstə/