Definition of disaster in English:

disaster

noun

  • 1A sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, that causes great damage or loss of life.

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

Phrases

  • be a recipe for disaster

    • Be extremely likely to have unfortunate consequences.

      ‘sky-high interest rates are a recipe for disaster’
      • ‘Having too much free time is a recipe for disaster.’
      • ‘The combination of blocking the media, forcing evacuations and too many guns is a recipe for disaster.’
      • ‘Your desperate craving to make a good impression, coupled with your extreme nervousness, is a recipe for disaster.’
      • ‘The other main issue is again, I would reiterate we need to concentrate on job creation, because unemployment is a recipe for disaster.’
      • ‘Extremism and terrorism is a recipe for disaster, and will destroy this extraordinary alliance against U.S. imperialism.’
      • ‘Bringing them home now is a recipe for disaster.’
      • ‘Telling him how much you're looking forward to the months-away Christmas dance, while he's looking forward to a cheese-steak for lunch, is a recipe for disaster.’
      • ‘Split-second decision making without thinking about the consequences is a recipe for disaster.’
      • ‘This is a recipe for disaster, and I am not sure what we can do (other than pray) to change the frightening trajectory that our republic is spiraling toward.’
      • ‘Frustration with the slow pace of land resettlement is understandable, but addressing it with a policy that is very likely to damage current productivity and incentive for investment is a recipe for disaster.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

disaster

/dəˈzastər//dəˈzæstər/