1. [syn: calamity, catastrophe, disaster, tragedy, cataclysm]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Calamity \Ca*lam"i*ty\n.; pl. Calamities. [L. calamitas, akin
to in-columis unharmed: cf. F. calamit['e]]
1. Any great misfortune or cause of misery; -- generally
applied to events or disasters which produce extensive
evil, either to communities or individuals.
Note: The word calamity was first derived from calamus when
the corn could not get out of the stalk. --Bacon.
Strokes of calamity that scathe and scorch the
soul. --W. Irving.
2. A state or time of distress or misfortune; misery.
The deliberations of calamity are rarely wise.
Where'er I came I brought calamity. --Tennyson.
Syn: Disaster; distress; affliction; adversity; misfortune;
unhappiness; infelicity; mishap; mischance; misery;
evil; extremity; exigency; downfall.
Usage: Calamity, Disaster, Misfortune, Mishap,
Mischance. Of these words, calamity is the
strongest. It supposes a somewhat continuous state,
produced not usually by the direct agency of man, but
by natural causes, such as fire, flood, tempest,
disease, etc, Disaster denotes literally ill-starred,
and is some unforeseen and distressing event which
comes suddenly upon us, as if from hostile planet.
Misfortune is often due to no specific cause; it is
simply the bad fortune of an individual; a link in the
chain of events; an evil independent of his own
conduct, and not to be charged as a fault. Mischance
and mishap are misfortunes of a trivial nature,
occurring usually to individuals. "A calamity is
either public or private, but more frequently the
former; a disaster is rather particular than private;
it affects things rather than persons; journey,
expedition, and military movements are often attended
with disasters; misfortunes are usually personal; they
immediately affect the interests of the individual."
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: an event resulting in great loss and misfortune; "the whole
city was affected by the irremediable calamity"; "the
earthquake was a disaster" [syn: calamity, catastrophe,
disaster, tragedy, cataclysm]
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
68 Moby Thesaurus words for "calamity":
accident, adversity, affliction, bane, blow, bugbear, burden,
casualty, cataclysm, catastrophe, collapse, collision, contretemps,
crack-up, crash, cross, crushing burden, curse, death, desolation,
destruction, devastation, disaster, disease, distress, evil,
fatal accident, fatality, grief, grievance, hardship, harm,
ill hap, infliction, misadventure, mischance, misery, misfortune,
mishap, nasty blow, nemesis, open wound, pest, pestilence, pileup,
plague, reverse, ruin, ruination, running sore, scourge, shipwreck,
shock, smash, smashup, staggering blow, thorn, torment, tragedy,
trial, tribulation, trouble, vexation, violent death, visitation,
woe, wreck, wretchedness
The Devil's Dictionary (1881-1906):
CALAMITY, n. A more than commonly plain and unmistakable reminder
that the affairs of this life are not of our own ordering. Calamities
are of two kinds: misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to