Definition of cataclysmic in US English:



  • 1Relating to or denoting a violent natural event.

    • ‘Despite the world's brightest researchers, the latest GPS technology and powerful computer models, scientists cannot reliably forecast the cataclysmic geological events.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It explores the environmental, political, economic and social impact of such a cataclysmic event.’
    • ‘The cataclysmic event may have caused widespread extinction of the dinosaurs and three-fourths of Earth's living organisms.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘A cataclysmic event during this period detached most of the crystal groups from the cavern walls and ceiling.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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, which occurred last year on Jupiter's moon Io, ranks as the most powerful volcanic eruption ever recorded in the solar system.’
    • ‘Paleontologists recognize five cataclysmic episodes in Earth's history, times when 50 to 95 percent of existing species abruptly vanished.’
    disastrous, catastrophic, calamitous, tragic, devastating, ruinous, terrible, violent, awful
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    1. 1.1informal 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.’