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Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An event that brings terrible loss, lasting distress, or severe affliction; a disaster.
  • noun Dire distress resulting from loss or tragedy.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Any great misfortune or cause of misery; in general, any event or disaster which produces extensive evils, as loss of crops, earthquakes, etc., but also applied to any misfortune which brings great distress upon a single person; misfortune; distress; adversity.
  • noun Synonyms Disaster, Catastrophe, etc. (see misfortune), hardship, adversity, affliction, blow, stroke.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Any great misfortune or cause of misery; -- generally applied to events or disasters which produce extensive evil, either to communities or individuals.
  • noun A state or time of distress or misfortune; misery.

from , Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An event resulting in great loss.
  • noun The distress that results from some disaster.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an event resulting in great loss and misfortune

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English calamite, from Old French, from Latin calamitās.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin clāmāre ("to shout, proclaim, declare, cry out"); Latin calamitās ("loss, damage; disaster").

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Examples

  • Happening now, Robert Gates officially taking charge of the Pentagon and the troubled war in Iraq with a swearing in ceremony -- he's warning that failure in Iraq would be what he called a calamity that would haunt the U.S. -- hisඣ words -- for decades.

  • A few pale figures were to be distinguished at the accustomed resort at the Tuileries; they wondered wherefore the islanders should approach their ill-fated city -- for in the excess of wretchedness, the sufferers always imagine, that their part of the calamity is the bitterest, as, when enduring intense pain, we would exchange the particular torture we writhe under, for any other which sh🦹ould visit a different paꦓrt of the frame.

  • This calamity is the more heavy, as it carries with it a great disappointment; for very near our habitation was a high wall, the sunny side of whi💟ch was covered with the most delicious fruits; peaches, apricotsꦓ, nectarines, &c. all just then ripening; and I thought of having such a feast with my children as I had never enjoyed in my life.

  • The prediction of this calamityꦍ is here given very largely, and in lively expressions, which one would think should have awakened and affect𝐆ed the most stupid.

  • Judge will speedily take vengeance; the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon the🉐m make haste.

  • A calamity is the shortage ofꦺ such utensils as sweepers, brooms, brushes and rags for clꩲeaning.

  • When deviant behaviour exists with the cowardly behaviour of leaders, calamity is the next step.

  • This calamity is exactly what happened to my Uncle Joseph, who was removed from my grandparents when he was a toddler and sent to the Texas State School because he had be♒gun acting out in rage at his inabi💝lity to communicate with others.

  • The hidden hand behind this unsanitary calamity is the US government.

  • “An earth-shattering calamity is about to happen,” he writes.

Comments

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  • I can't help but be slightly amused whenever I hear this word, even when it's used in the context of horrible disasters. I had been having trouble figuring out why, but I think I've got it: the first place I heard it was probably the television show Tiny Toon Adventures, on which there was a character called "Calamity Coyote."

    It's amazing how, at least for me, my first𒅌 exposure to a word can permanently color my perception of it.

    May 4, 2010

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