• WordNet 3.6
    • n debacle a sudden and violent collapse
    • n debacle a sound defeat
    • n debacle flooding caused by a tumultuous breakup of ice in a river during the spring or summer
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Debacle (Geol) A breaking or bursting forth; a violent rush or flood of waters which breaks down opposing barriers, and hurls forward and disperses blocks of stone and other débris.
    • Debacle a complete and ludicrous failure; a rout, as of an army; a great disaster; a fiasco.
    • Debacle A sudden breaking up or breaking loose; a violent dispersion or disruption; impetuous rush; outburst.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n debacle Specifically, the breaking up of ice in a river in consequence of a rise of the water. Sometimes used by English writers on geology for a rush of water carrying with it debris of various kinds, as by Lyell in describing the effect of the giving way of an ice-barrier in the valley of Bagnes, Valais, Switzerland, in 1818.
    • n debacle A confused rout; an uncontrollable rush; a stampede.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Debacle de-bak′l a breaking up of ice on a river:
    • n Debacle de-bak′l (geol.) a sudden flood of water leaving its path strewed with debris.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. débâcle, fr. débâcler, to unbar, break loose; pref. dé-,prob. = L. dis,) + bâcler, to bolt, fr. L. baculum, a stick
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. débâcle; de, and bâcler, to bar—L. baculus, a stick.


In literature:

It was the young American, Richard Lane, who really started the debacle, but it was Hunterleys who seized Martin.
"Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo" by E. Phillips Oppenheim
A few weeks, if not days, of continued fighting meant the most striking military debacle of history.
"Woodrow Wilson and the World War" by Charles Seymour
I was violently attacked when the 'Debacle' appeared.
"The Idler Magazine, Volume III, June 1893" by Various
He took her to a Lithuanian restaurant, on a street which was a debacle.
"The Job" by Sinclair Lewis
She's fond of a little gossip, and knew all about the debacle at Kidd's Pines of course.
"The Lightning Conductor Discovers America" by C. N. (Charles Norris) Williamson and A. M. (Alice Muriel) Williamson
The loss of Avlona would inflict a blow on the prestige of the Allies paralleling that of the Gallipoli debacle.
"The Story of the Great War, Volume IV (of 8)"
Prime Minister Kerensky had rushed to the Galician front as soon as news had reached him of the Russian debacle.
"The Story of the Great War, Volume VI (of VIII)" by Various
Then more trees came smashing through, followed by muddy tides of driftwood, and as suddenly the debacle ceased.
"Wunpost" by Dane Coolidge
Something like a Jew in New York who was a veteran of the Israel-Arab wars, before the debacle.
"Border, Breed Nor Birth" by Dallas McCord Reynolds
And then how about La Debacle, which has 229,000 copies to its credit?
"Ivory Apes and Peacocks" by James Huneker

In news:

Garrett and Jones should be fired following Cowboys debacle.
Rahul meeting on election debacle.
For a week we've been pinning last week's debacle on everything from Mitt Romney's moderation to low Republican turnout.
Obama at his press conference invited John McCain, Lindsay Graham and others to " go after me" if they have questions about the Libya debacle.
Election Debacle May Cost High Ranking Official Her Job.
The Election Commission met Thursday night to discuss who has the authority to fire the executive director, among other issues looming over the election day debacle.
The Knight Capital debacle last week gave us yet another example of the financial system run amok.
Fulton County election performance called ' horrible ', 'a debacle'.
Little did they know their creative financing five years back would eventually become ensnared in the current mortgage-lending debacle.
After last year's defensive debacle, Huskies ranked second in conference, 21st nationally.
It's hard to figure out just how the first presidential debate turned into such an overwhelming political debacle for President Obama.
Suffice it to say that nobody is real high on the Hogs following the debacle that took place last Saturday in Little Rock.
We are still having quite a few calls regarding the security debacle at Department of Revenue.
Political Meddling Hampers Inquiry Into Kabul Bank Debacle.
The legacy of San Diego's termed-out mayor Jerry Sanders includes guiding the city back from the precipice of its worst financial debacle in history.