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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishdisasterdi‧sas‧ter /dɪˈzɑːstə $ dɪˈzæstər/ ●●● S3 W3 noun [countable, uncountable]  1 DISASTERa sudden event such as a flood, storm, or accident which causes great damage or sufferingcatastrophe One hundred and twenty people died in China’s worst air disaster. the economic consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disasterdisaster for The oil spill was a disaster for Alaskan sea animals. The 1987 hurricane was the worst natural disaster to hit England for decades. Their expedition nearly ended in disaster, when one of the climbers slid off the mountain. The drought could spell disaster for wildlife. Disaster struck when two men were killed during their parachute jumps. The peace process was on the brink of disaster. Luckily the pilot saw the other plane just in time, and a disaster was narrowly averted.see thesaurus at accident2 FAILsomething that is very bad or a failure, especially when this is very annoying or disappointingsomething is a complete/total/disaster Because of the weather, the parade was a total disaster. The evening was an unmitigated disaster (=a complete failure).disaster for The cuts in funding will be a disaster for the schools. Five small boys on skis is a recipe for disaster (=is very likely to end badly).COLLOCATIONSMeaning 1: a sudden event such as a flood, storm, or accident which causes great damage or sufferingADJECTIVES/NOUN + disaster a natural disaster (=caused by nature)In recent years there has been an increase in weather-related natural disasters.an ecological/environmental disaster (=causing great damage to nature)This region is facing an ecological disaster as a result of toxic waste.an air/rail disaster (=an air or rail accident)The crash was the worst rail disaster in Pakistan’s history.a nuclear disaster (=an accident involving nuclear power or weapons)A conflict could get out of hand and degenerate into nuclear disaster.a terrible disasterIt was a terrible disaster which carried away a large part of the hillside.verbsa disaster strikes (=happens suddenly)Congress often gives millions of dollars in foreign aid when natural disasters strike.prevent/avert a disasterThey called for an international programme to prevent the disaster happening again.disaster + NOUNa disaster area/zone (=area where a disaster has happened)Military planes flew food supplies to the disaster area.disaster relief (=money, food, clothes etc for people in a disaster area)an emergency appeal for disaster reliefa disaster victim (=someone who is suffering because of a disaster)Aid is being given to the disaster victims.
THESAURUSdisaster a sudden event such as an accident, or a natural event such as a flood or storm, which causes great damage or suffering200 people died in the train disaster.The earthquake was the worst natural disaster to hit India for over 50 years.catastrophe a terrible event in which there is a lot of destruction, damage, suffering, or death over a wide area of the worldA large comet hitting the Earth would be a catastrophe.We don’t want another nuclear catastrophe like Chernobyl.Scientists say that the oil spill is an ecological catastrophe.tragedy a very sad event, that shocks people because it involves deathIt was a tragedy that he died so young.the AIDS tragedy in Africadebacle an event or situation that is a complete failure and is very embarrassingThe opening ceremony turned into a debacle.The team is hoping to do better this game, after last week’s debacle against the Chicago Bears.natural disastersearthquake a sudden shaking of the Earth’s surface that often causes a lot of damageA powerful earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.It was the biggest earthquake to hit the Pacific Northwest for 52 years.flood a very large amount of water that covers an area that is usually dryBangladesh has been hit by a series of devastating floods (=very bad floods).The crisis began with floods that covered one third of the countryside.drought a long period of dry weather when there is not enough water for plants and animals to liveThe country experienced its worst drought this century.In East Africa, three years of drought have left 10 million people in urgent need of food and water.famine a situation in which a large number of people have little or no food for a long time and many people diePoor harvests led to famine.4,000,000 people are threatened by famine in northern Ethiopia.hurricane a storm that has very strong fast winds and that moves over water – used about storms in the North Atlantic Oceanextreme weather such as hurricanesHurricane Andrew left southern Florida in ruins.typhoon a violent tropical storm – used about storms in the Western Pacific OceanA typhoon has hit the Philippines, lifting roofs off houses and uprooting trees.tsunami a very large wave, caused by extreme conditions such as an earthquake, which can cause a lot of damage when it reaches landThousands of people were killed in the tsunami.Many Pacific earthquakes have generated tsunamis.
COLLOCATIONSMeaning 2: something that is very bad or a failure, especially when this is very annoying or disappointingadjectivesa complete/total disasterLast Saturday’s game was a complete disaster for our team.a financial/economic/military etc disasterThe project was a financial disaster.a national disasterThe Labour Party called the new government 'a national disaster'.a personal disasterI’d taken some professional risks and survived a few personal disasters.an unmitigated disaster (=a complete failure)The $24,000,000 movie was an unmitigated disaster.a potential disaster (=one that could happen)Always save a backup copy of your work to avoid potential disasters.an impending disaster (=one that is going to happen soon)She had a sense of impending disaster.verbsend in disasterBy the late 1990s his career had ended in disaster.spell disaster (=cause something to end badly or fail)Bad luck and the recession spelt disaster for her business.phrasesbe on the brink of disaster (=be almost ending in a very bad way)Once again the peace process was on the brink of disaster.be a recipe for disaster (=be a situation that is very likely to end badly)If you get married too young, it’s a recipe for disaster.something is a disaster waiting to happen (=used to say that something is bad and will fail)The government’s educational reforms are a disaster waiting to happen.
Examples from the Corpus
disasterThe Los Alamos area was officially declared a disaster area after the forest fires there in May.I'd invite you in, but my place is a disaster.General consensus is the meeting was a disaster.At least 264 people died, in one of the worst civilian air disasters of all time.The crash Monday is the latest in a long line of air disasters in West Africa.The Challenger disaster cost the lives of seven astronauts, and set back the nation's space program for years.But if they do not leave, he said, ecological disaster could be as little as five or 10 years away.The city has emergency plans for dealing with a major disaster such as a rail crash.The governor said the earthquake was the worst natural disaster to hit India for over 50 years.Natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes are common occurrences in California.No disaster, and the wrecking of this ship is a disaster, justifies you to act stupidly.The 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl spread radiation worldwide.Shawcross raises these questions within the context of disaster relief but they have a broader setting.Our current economic policy has the makings of disaster.Staff here say that would spell disaster for hundreds of alcoholics.Despite the glossy packaging he ruined Labour's chances last time and he is set to repeat the disaster.The disaster killed more than 200 people.The party was a total disaster.The local people are used to coping with disaster.disaster ... avertedFortune smiled on me that night, and what could have been a disaster was averted.After disaster had been averted, the firemen would go to play at the bandstand.Financial disaster was temporarily averted when Barnato put his money in and replaced Bentley as chairman in 1926.For disaster narrowly averted and for disaster to come if she showed any mercy.A second jet disaster was narrowly averted in Bogota on Thursday.We believe that both these disasters could be averted if the approach we have outlined were adopted widely.Total disaster had been averted, channels of communication had been established, and there were foundations on which to build.is a recipe for disasterA plentiful supply of anything is a recipe for disaster.This, of course, is a recipe for disaster, her attempts to please meeting with a steady stream of rebuffs.
From Longman Business Dictionarydisasterdi‧sas‧ter /dɪˈzɑːstədɪˈzæstər/ noun [countable, uncountable]1a sudden event such as a flood, storm, or accident which causes great damage or suffering100 people died in the mining disaster.Hurricane Katrina was the worst natural disaster ever to hit New Orleans.2a complete failureDisaster could strike if the company is outbid by many of its expected rivals for the franchise.What is good news for shoppers can be a disaster for share- holders.