• WordNet 3.6
    • n catastrophe an event resulting in great loss and misfortune "the whole city was affected by the irremediable calamity","the earthquake was a disaster"
    • n catastrophe a sudden violent change in the earth's surface
    • n catastrophe a state of extreme (usually irremediable) ruin and misfortune "lack of funds has resulted in a catastrophe for our school system","his policies were a disaster"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Catastrophe (Geol) A violent and widely extended change in the surface of the earth, as, an elevation or subsidence of some part of it, effected by internal causes.
    • Catastrophe An event producing a subversion of the order or system of things; a final event, usually of a calamitous or disastrous nature; hence, sudden calamity; great misfortune. "The strange catastrophe of affairs now at London.""The most horrible and portentous catastrophe that nature ever yet saw."
    • Catastrophe The final event in a romance or a dramatic piece; a denouement, as a death in a tragedy, or a marriage in a comedy.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n catastrophe The arrangement of actions or interconnection of causes which constitutes the final event of a dramatic piece; the unfolding and winding up of the plot, clearing up difficulties, and closing the play; the dénouement. The ancients divided a play into the protasis, epitasis, catastasis, and catastrophe; that is, the introduction, continuance, heightening, and development or conclusion.
    • n catastrophe A notable event terminating a connected series; a finishing stroke or wind-up; specifically, an unfortunate conclusion; hence, any great calamity or disaster, especially one happening suddenly or from an irresistible cause.
    • n catastrophe In geology, an occurrence of geological importance not in harmony with preceding events, and not the result of causes acting always in a given direction; a cataclysm. It was once generally believed that the earth has “undergone a succession of revolutions and aqueous catastrophes interrupted by long intervals of tranquillity” (Lyell). The deluge was one of these great catastrophes. A similar view is the once common idea that all the living organisms on the earth's surface had been again and again exterminated, to be succeeded by new creations of plants and animals.
    • n catastrophe Synonyms Disaster, Calamity, etc. (see mis-fortune); consummation, finale.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Catastrophe kat-as′trō-fē an overturning: a final event: an unfortunate conclusion: a calamity
    • ***


  • Susan Sontag
    “Anything in history or nature that can be described as changing steadily can be seen as heading toward catastrophe.”
  • Carl Jung
    “The heaping together of paintings by Old Masters in museums is a catastrophe; likewise, a collection of a hundred Great Brains makes one big fathead.”
  • Leonard Cohen
    “The term clinical depression finds its way into too many conversations these days. One has a sense that a catastrophe has occurred in the psychic landscape.”
  • Adlai E. Stevenson
    “A wise man who stands firm is a statesman, a foolish man who stands firm is a catastrophe.”
  • Ernest Dimnet
    Ernest Dimnet
    “The happiness of most people we know is not ruined by great catastrophes or fatal errors, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things.”
  • H.G. Wells
    “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. catastropha, Gr. , fr. to turn up and down, to overturn; kata` down + to turn
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr., kata, down, strephein, to turn.


In literature:

Of some young men it may almost be said that it is their great business to avoid such a catastrophe.
"An Eye for an Eye" by Anthony Trollope
The catastrophe is, in the main, the return of this action on the head of the agent.
"Shakespearean Tragedy" by A. C. Bradley
They have just completed a large stock of catastrophes, to which they respectfully solicit attention.
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete" by Various
Not until that moment did Frederick grasp to its full extent the catastrophe that was occurring, a catastrophe beyond human conception.
"Atlantis" by Gerhart Hauptmann
It was arrested by a catastrophe.
"The Astonishing History of Troy Town" by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
I tell you quite honestly that I think I know what is the direct cause of this catastrophe.
"The Runaway Skyscraper" by Murray Leinster
Whatever blows Ferdinand Foch struck in 1870 were without weight in helping to avert France's catastrophe.
"Foch the Man" by Clara E. Laughlin
In so far as Buonaparte had the power to suppress all mention of this catastrophe, it was, at the time, suppressed.
"The History of Napoleon Buonaparte" by John Gibson Lockhart
There is all the difference in the world between knowing that a catastrophe is going to happen, and knowing that it has happened.
"None Other Gods" by Robert Hugh Benson
It was months before Irala learned of the catastrophe.
"South America" by W. H. Koebel
That was the hardest to bear and the saddest result of the catastrophe.
"Navy Boys Behind the Big Guns" by Halsey Davidson
Things were at that point where they have no possible termination except in a catastrophe.
"History of the Girondists, Volume I" by Alphonse de Lamartine
He thought therefore of sending Caulaincourt to him, to prevent such a catastrophe.
"History of the Expedition to Russia" by Count Philip de Segur
The catastrophe is not very perspicuous, but decidedly interesting.
"Bohemians of the Latin Quarter" by Henry Murger
Perhaps the room above had been the scene of this catastrophe.
"Arthur Mervyn" by Charles Brockden Brown
This is a site-specific plan for response to potential catastrophic earthquake occurrences.
"An Assessment of the Consequences and Preparations for a Catastrophic California Earthquake: Findings and Actions Taken" by Various
It's a tumble, a catastrophe, a cataclysm!
"A Mummer's Tale" by Anatole France
There was that about George Tresslyn that suggested a subsequent catastrophe.
"From the Housetops" by George Barr McCutcheon
Mr. Rushbrooke frankly described the war as an overwhelming catastrophe, gravely disturbing the religious mind.
"The War and the Churches" by Joseph McCabe
Evidently he felt that their absence was a matter of immense importance, was a catastrophe.
"The Call of the Blood" by Robert Smythe Hichens

In poetry:

A death-wish is the wish of the able.
The hapless wants to live.
Let us keep him alive. Visions of catastrophe
belong to the sovereign.
Let us destroy:all but him.
"Buddhijivi ka Vaktavya ( Intellectual's Statement)" by Raghuvir Sahay
And there alone still stood we two;
She once cast off for me,
Or so it seemed: while night ondrew,
Forcing a parley what should do
We twain hearts caught in one catastrophe.
"The Contretemps" by Thomas Hardy
As soon as the catastrophe came to be known,
The words, Fire! Fire! from every mouth were blown;
And a cry of despair rang out on the morning air,
When they saw the burning pile with its red fiery glare.
"The Clepington Catastrophe" by William Topaz McGonagall
As soon as the catastrophe became known throughout the boro'
The people's hearts were brim-full of sorrow,
And parents rush'd to the Hall terror-stricken and wild,
And each one was anxious to find their own child.
"The Sunderland Calamity" by William Topaz McGonagall
A sad tale of the sea I will relate, which will your hearts appal
Concerning the burning of the steamship "City of Montreal,"
Which had on board two hundred and forty-nine souls in all,
But, alas! a fearful catastrophe did them befall.
"The Burning of the Steamer 'City of Montreal'" by William Topaz McGonagall
E'er the completion of the impious pile,
Thou mayest have heard, with silent nonchalance,
That strange catastrophe of human speech,
That dire confusion of the languages,
Confounding all the tongues and dialects
To unknown chaos of peculiar sounds.
"Metabole." by Alfred Castner King

In news:

'Preppers' vs Professors: Sides disagree on catastrophe at Mayan calendar's end.
More than 370,000 Haitians have been living in temporary camps, since the catastrophic 2010 earthquake.
The bugs caused catastrophic damage to crops in 2010.
Emergency workers prevented "real catastrophe" at PEMEX.
Proposed legislation could get rid of mandatory catastrophic auto insurance.
Michigan motorists will pay $20 more per vehicle for unlimited medical coverage in their auto policies, $104.58 to $124.89 effective July 1, the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association decided Monday.
It doesn't take a fortune-teller to predict healthcare catastrophes for America's uninsured.
Emergency workers prevented "real catastrophe " at PEMEX.
Lionel Messi's father claims only a ' catastrophe ' would lead his son to consider a move away from Barcelona.
Who will inherit the Chavez catastrophe .
Horrific' abuses in south Yemen 'human rights catastrophe ,' says Amnesty International report.
Catastrophic events can be shocking, but many of them shouldn't come as a surprise.
Sandra Lee's funniest cooking catastrophe was on TV.
The tax code allows you to deduct a catastrophic loss (or theft) from your income.
The catastrophic loss deduction is limited to amounts above 10% of your adjusted gross income -- the amount on line 37 of your 1040 form.

In science:

Their results were quite definitive – if a galaxy forms as a LSB galaxy, due to a high angular momentum giving rise to a low gas surface density etc., it will remain a LSB galaxy barring any major encounter catastrophe.
Star Formation and Tidal Encounters with the Low Surface Brightness Galaxy UGC 12695 and Companions
The foremost problem we have in mind is the cosmological constant problem (or vacuum catastrophe) which has already a long history .
Quantum Theory within the Framework of General Relativity
Both the vacuum catastrophe and the frequency mixing in geodesic motion are connected with the infinite extension of the modes in space-time on which the global quantization procedure rests.
Quantum Theory within the Framework of General Relativity
The catastrophic senescence of Pacific Salmon, that is the fish dying soon after producing offspring, is one of the crucial facts of nature which a theory has to explain.
Social Effects in Simple Computer Model of Ageing
Let us begin by describing the so-called “c → 0 catastrophe”.
The Stress Tensor in Quenched Random Systems
No evidence of catastrophic failure or deterioration of the readout chip functionality has been observed up to dose up of 43 MRad (200 MeV protons).
Single Event Effects in the Pixel readout chip for BTeV
Matter (not shown) catastrophically accreting into the central ob ject produces a narrowly collimated beam of CBs, of which only some of the “northern” ones are depicted.
Optical and X-ray Afterglows in the Cannonball Model of GRBs
In the cases considered here, these runs would suffer catastrophic instabilities after 15 − 20M evolution, but the more critical question for our problem is that the runs be sufficiently accurate in the convergent regime prior to the instability.
Modeling gravitational radiation from coalescing binary black holes
Even though we see the expected quadratic convergence, the exponential error growth is catastrophic and only slightly delayed by applying significantly more computational resources to increase the resoultion.
Modeling gravitational radiation from coalescing binary black holes
In this particular application, a “normal” gaussian deviation from the optimal geometry can have a catastrophic effect on trapping by scattering the light wave out of the whispering-gallery tra jectory.
Coherent Random Lasing and "Almost Localized" Photon Modes
We call the submanifold C (F ) a catastrophe set of F .
Generic singularities of implicit systems of first order differential equations on the plane
The vacuum state, the state of zero photons, traditionally the ground state, may thus depend on the history of the horizon, on the catastrophic event creating the black hole.
Quantum Physics of Simple Optical Instruments
Extreme statistics are important in science, engineering, and society as they dictate catastrophic events, systems robustness, financial indices, etc.
Leadership Statistics in Random Structures
More importantly, extremes often manifest themselves in catastrophes, such as the failure of space shuttles, the breaching of dams in flood conditions, or stock market crashes.
Extremal Properties of Random Structures
Because such models unavoidably lead to violation of positive energy conditions, catastrophic quantum instability of the vacuum is expected and one has to impose an ultraviolet cutoff to the low energy effective theory in order to keep the instability at unobservable rate.
Negative energies and time reversal in Quantum Field Theory