Definition of disastrous in English:



  • 1Causing great damage:

    ‘a disastrous fire swept through the museum’
    • ‘And who was responsible for the sales re-organisation with the disastrous effects on Europe?’
    • ‘I always think that disastrous situations bring about the positive of great opportunities then being available to turn things around.’
    • ‘But it proved as disastrous for Yugoslavia as it did for the Soviet Union.’
    • ‘The whole world is getting a massive overdose of female hormones and the result is absolutely disastrous to many species.’
    • ‘Such a war can only have the most disastrous consequences.’
    • ‘American policy was thus based on a disastrous miscalculation, which came home to roost at Pearl Harbor.’
    • ‘Our motivations may be pure, but the results are just as disastrous.’
    • ‘Assaults by parts of five more Union divisions proved equally disastrous.’
    • ‘Reverting to a full troop withdrawal stance would be both pointless and disastrous in policy terms.’
    • ‘For the same disastrous policies are being inflicted on people here in Britain.’
    • ‘All the administration can offer, however, is more of the same disastrous policy.’
    • ‘And as models of normative desire, desire that he can never satisfy, they are equally disastrous.’
    • ‘If that was what Blair thought, then this was, of course, a disastrous miscalculation.’
    • ‘TV and politics have always made inevitable bedfellows, but the results have been disastrous.’
    • ‘Now this statement today is only possible because we've fixed up that disastrous budget situation we inherited.’
    • ‘The increase in numbers, while it distorts the demographic picture, has more disastrous effects.’
    • ‘And then humans return, and the two cultures clash with potentially disastrous consequences.’
    • ‘To entrust such commercial affairs to a non-executive board "has potentially disastrous consequences".’
    • ‘Any mistake by the locks could also prove environmentally disastrous.’
    • ‘Nowadays in an even more competitive world, it would be economically disastrous for strikes to become commonplace.’
    catastrophic, calamitous, cataclysmic, tragic
    devastating, ravaging, ruinous, harmful, injurious, detrimental, adverse
    dire, terrible, awful, shocking, appalling, dreadful, grievous, horrible, black, dark, bad
    unfortunate, unlucky, ill-fated, ill-starred, inauspicious, unfavourable
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    1. 1.1informal Highly unsuccessful:
      ‘United made a disastrous start to the season’
      • ‘We've not spoken since my last disastrous attempt at explaining myself.’
      • ‘Judging by the reviews, the film of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is as disastrous as expected.’
      • ‘After that disastrous start Wicklow fought back well.’
      • ‘Not even a disastrous foray into restaurants a few years back could dent the group's core business.’
      • ‘I reasoned that this would either be a devastatingly effective or disastrous opening gambit.’
      • ‘After our ultimately disastrous first attempt at using our incubator this is just the ticket.’
      • ‘My parents' marriage was not ideal but not disastrous, and certainly did not make my childhood unhappy.’
      • ‘Borough came back from a disastrous start to get a point in a topsy-turvy encounter at Runcorn on Tuesday.’
      • ‘He damaged his back in that tie to cap a disastrous year which also saw him suffer foot and knee problems.’
      • ‘Last year's foot and mouth outbreak left Beningbrough Hall with a disastrous season.’
      • ‘I made a small speech thanking all and sundry for their efforts, before a disastrous attempt at telling a joke.’
      • ‘Even if she did a disastrous DIY job, it would probably have looked cool and trendy.’
      • ‘After two disastrous relegation seasons York will be looking to bring the glory days back to Clifton Park.’
      • ‘If it's prepared well, it can be remarkable; if it is cooked horribly it can be disastrous.’
      • ‘A disastrous stint with Watford would not put him off a return to England and he would consider moving abroad too.’
      • ‘In all, a disastrous start to a marketing concept clearly executed by greedy fools.’
      • ‘Being a dutiful pupil, I followed the prescriptions only to embark on a disastrous degree in science.’
      • ‘Lee agreed that his disastrous start had given him little chance of victory.’
      • ‘It will take the losers considerable time to recover from this disastrous performance.’


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘ill-fated’): from French désastreux, from Italian disastroso, from disastro disaster.