noun di·sas·ter \di-ˈzas-tər, -ˈsas-\

: something (such as a flood, tornado, fire, plane crash, etc.) that happens suddenly and causes much suffering or loss to many people

: something that has a very bad effect or result

: a complete or terrible failure

Full Definition of DISASTER

obsolete :  an unfavorable aspect of a planet or star
:  a sudden calamitous event bringing great damage, loss, or destruction; broadly :  a sudden or great misfortune or failure <the party was a disaster>

Origin of DISASTER

Middle French & Old Italian; Middle French desastre, from Old Italian disastro, from dis- (from Latin) + astro star, from Latin astrum — more at astral
First Known Use: 1568
DISASTER Defined for Kids


noun di·sas·ter \diz-ˈas-tər, dis-\

Definition of DISASTER for Kids

:  something (as a flood or a tornado) that happens suddenly and causes much suffering or loss

Word History of DISASTER

People who experience bad luck are sometimes said to be star-crossed. This expression comes from the belief that the position of the stars and planets has a direct influence on earthly events. The origins of the word disaster can be traced to this same belief. Disaster is borrowed from disastro, an Italian word formed from the negative prefix dis- and the noun astro, meaning star. Disastro originally referred to an unfortunate event, such as a military defeat, that took place when certain heavenly bodies were in an unlucky position.


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