Definition of debacle in English:


Pronunciation /dāˈbäk(ə)l//dəˈbäk(ə)l/


  • A sudden and ignominious failure; a fiasco.

    ‘the economic debacle that became known as the Great Depression’
    • ‘If there's one thing last fall's election debacle taught us, it's that people like to deal in absolutes.’
    • ‘The government has made A-levels ever easier in an attempt to disguise the debacle, but it has failed in that too.’
    • ‘The full extent of those earlier debacles could be cloaked in secrecy.’
    • ‘For one thing, it will force the government to produce a compelling, coherent, consistent, and persuasive account of their programs, their debacles, and their triumphs.’
    • ‘I caution you however, to mention that the left cannot afford any more debacles that could have easily been prevented by fact checking.’
    • ‘After previous electoral debacles, the Conservatives bounced speedily back.’
    • ‘These two debacles take us right to the core of how service professionals handle and account for risk when they take on highly - lucrative contracts from clients.’
    • ‘Drummer Larry Mullen Jr apologised to fans for the recent debacle where many fan club members were unable to buy tickets for the shows.’
    • ‘And until we straighten out what kind of information real doctors take into the examining room with them to see real patients, we're going to keep having these drug debacles one after the other.’
    • ‘His handling of the debacle was masterful, saving the parent company from financial collapse.’
    • ‘If this man worked in the private sector and had presided over repeated financial debacles of a similar magnitude, he would have been invited to resign years ago.’
    • ‘The debacle at Gallipoli meant the war ministry in London needed a propaganda success.’
    • ‘The referendum debacles catch Europe at what is possibly the first time in its history when all the leaders of the big four nations are serving out their time, waiting to be replaced.’
    • ‘Often the films in question turn into debacles.’
    • ‘Two consecutive Election Day debacles have shaken public confidence in exit polls, once viewed as the crown jewel of political surveys.’
    • ‘What can I say after the debacles / meltdowns by both Boston and Chicago in this week's championship series?’
    • ‘The generals are intent on proving that the defeats are not debacles, and that the fall of key strategic bases is simply a ‘tactical withdrawal’.’
    • ‘‘All of these were outrageous debacles undertaken for crude political reasons,’ said Mr Bruton.’
    • ‘These minor debacles are just symptoms of a larger ailment, one that has afflicted over a century's worth of politicians on every level and for which there is no end in sight.’
    • ‘The wimp-baiting from the right has gotten us into the two worst foreign policy debacles of the last half century and we have to put a stop to it.’
    fiasco, failure, catastrophe, disaster, disintegration, mess, wreck, ruin
    downfall, collapse, defeat, rout, overthrow, conquest, trouncing
    foul-up, screw-up, hash, botch, washout, fail
    cock-up, pig's ear, car crash
    fuck-up, balls-up
    View synonyms


Early 19th century: from French débâcle, from débâcler unleash from dé- un- + bâcler to bar (from Latin baculum staff).