Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: NATURE

Date: 1400-1500
Language: Latin
Origin: cataracta 'waterfall, castle gate that drops from above', from Greek, from katarassein 'to strike down', from kata- ( CATACLYSM) + arassein 'to strike';
Sense: 1
Origin: because a cataract blocks sight like a gate coming down

cataract

noun
     
cat‧a‧ract [countable]
1MI a medical condition that causes the lens of your eye to become white, so that you slowly lose your sight
2 literaryDN a large waterfall
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