Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “catastrophe”


noun [C] uk   /kəˈtæs.trə.fi/ us  
C2 a sudden event that causes very great trouble or destruction: They were warned of the ecological catastrophe to come. a bad situation: The emigration of scientists is a catastrophe for the country.
adjective uk   /ˌkæt.əˈstrɒf.ɪk/ us    /ˌkæt̬.əˈstrɑː.fɪk/
An unchecked increase in the use of fossil fuels could have catastrophic results for the planet.
(Definition of catastrophe from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © 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

hello stranger

said to a person that you know but have not seen for a long time

Word of the Day

Come on – you can do it! Phrasal verbs with ‘come’.

by Liz Walter​,
November 19, 2014
As part of an occasional series on the tricky subject of phrasal verbs, this blog looks at ones formed with the verb ‘come’. If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you already know come from, as it is one of the first things you learn in class: I come from Scotland/Spain.

Read More 

silver splicer noun

November 17, 2014
informal a person who marries in later life Newly retired and now newlywed – rise of the ‘silver splicers’ Reaching pension age becomes a trigger to tie the knot as baby-boomers begin to redefine retirement

Read More