Definition of disastrous in English:



  • 1Causing great damage.

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


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