Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Language: Greek
Origin: katastrephein 'to turn upside down', from kata- ( CATACLYSM) + strephein 'to turn'


1 [uncountable and countable] a terrible event in which there is a lot of destruction, suffering, or death [= disaster]
environmental/nuclear/economic etc catastrophe
The Black Sea is facing ecological catastrophe as a result of pollution.
prevent/avert a catastrophe
Sudan requires food immediately to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.
2 [countable] an event which is very bad for the people involved [= disaster]
catastrophe for
If the contract is cancelled, it'll be a catastrophe for everyone concerned.
catastrophic adjective:
a catastrophic fall in the price of rice
The failure of the talks could have catastrophic consequences.
catastrophically adverb
WORD FOCUS: accident WORD FOCUS: accident
similar words: crash, wreck American English, pile-up, collision, disaster, catastrophe

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