Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “catastrophe”

catastrophe

noun [C]  /kəˈtæs·trə·fi/ us  
a sudden event that causes great suffering or destruction: Losing his job was a financial catastrophe for his family. A chemical plant leak could cause an environmental catastrophe.
catastrophic
adjective  /ˌkæt̬·əˈstrɑf·ɪk/ us  
Continued rain will cause catastrophic flooding.
(Definition of catastrophe from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of catastrophe?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Accidents and disasters, but you might be interested in these topics from the Happenings and events topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “catastrophe” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

sling

to throw or drop something carelessly

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More