Definition of disastrous in English:



  • 1Causing great damage.

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


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