How do you spell catastrophic

Catastrophic Definition & Meaning |

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[ kat-uh-strof-ik ]

/ ˌkæt əˈstrɒf ɪk /

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of the nature of a catastrophe, or disastrous event; calamitous: a catastrophic failure of the dam.



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Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Sometimes cat·a·stroph·i·cal, ca·tas·tro·phal [kuh-tas-truh-fuhl] /kəˈtæs trə fəl/ .

OTHER WORDS FROM catastrophic

cat·a·stroph·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·cat·a·stroph·ic, adjectivenon·cat·a·stroph·i·cal·ly, adverbsu·per·cat·a·stroph·ic, adjective

un·cat·a·stroph·ic, adjectiveun·cat·a·stroph·i·cal·ly, adverb

Words nearby catastrophic

catarrhal fever, catarrhine, catastasis, catastrophe, catastrophe theory, catastrophic, catastrophism, catastrophize, catatonia, catatonic, catawampus Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

Words related to catastrophic

calamitous, cataclysmic, disastrous, fatal, ruinous, tragic, catastrophal

How to use catastrophic in a sentence

  • Sparks and molten metal can land on a welder’s hands resulting in instant and catastrophic burns.

    Welding gloves to keep you safe and comfortable on the job|PopSci Commerce Team|February 9, 2021|Popular-Science

  • The American intelligence community had no idea about the catastrophic consequences that were about to enshroud our country.

    “We did the worst job in the world”: Lawrence Wright on America’s botched Covid-19 response|Sean Illing|February 9, 2021|Vox

  • It is a sobering journey, one that warns of catastrophic surprises that may be in store.

    This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through February 6)|Singularity Hub Staff|February 6, 2021|Singularity Hub 

  • The catastrophic events of the past year have not shaken Collins’ beliefs.

    NIH Director Francis Collins Is Fighting This Coronavirus While Preparing for the Next One|Belinda Luscombe|February 4, 2021|Time

  • As America faces the potential for catastrophic coronavirus spikes fueled by highly infectious variants, public health authorities remain wary of imposing the stricter measures adopted by other nations.

    U.S. response to coronavirus variants emphasizes masks and vaccines instead of lockdowns|Fenit Nirappil, Brittany Shammas|February 2, 2021|Washington Post

  • In the future, antibiotic resistance could have catastrophic consequences.

    Without Education, Antibiotic Resistance Will Be Our Greatest Health Crisis|Russell Saunders|December 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • Most of them have insurance, and only a small percentage face catastrophic illness.

    Staving Off a Democratic Civil War|Michael Tomasky|December 2, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • The result has been catastrophic for the poor and working poor.

    The Liberal Case Against Illegal Immigration|Doug McIntyre|November 25, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • TBIs can range anywhere from a mild concussion to catastrophic, fatal damage.

    Understanding Tracy Morgan’s Traumatic Brain Injury|Jean Kim|November 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • This is a catastrophic financial issue for everyone in the band,” Lee tells me, “and for just about all the musicians I know.

    Living in Louisiana’s Tragic Health-Care Limbo|Linda Marsa|November 15, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • There was a sudden catastrophic whooshing roar and, wham, a tree took flame for roots.

    A Feast of Demons|William Morrison

  • Sometimes they dealt catastrophic blows to the center of Leptar's government and religion.

    The Jewels of Aptor|Samuel R. Delany

  • The Mosaic cosmogony is, in this sense, catastrophic, because it assumes the operation of extranatural power.

    Aphorisms and Reflections from the works of T. H. Huxley|Thomas Henry Huxley

  • There was a spell, a hush over the world, to be broken by God-knew-what gentle awakening of activity, or catastrophic disturbance.

    Dodo's Daughter|E. F. Benson

  • But this much I can say: the catastrophic results of that man's actions could not have been worse if he had been a saboteur.

    The Brain|Alexander Blade

Catastrophe Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster

ca·​tas·​tro·​phe kə-ˈta-strə-(ˌ)fē 


: a momentous tragic event ranging from extreme misfortune to utter overthrow or ruin

Deforestation and erosion can lead to an ecological catastrophe.


: utter failure : fiasco

the party was a catastrophe



: a violent and sudden change in a feature of the earth


: a violent usually destructive natural event (such as a supernova)


: the final event of the dramatic action especially of a tragedy







Did you know?

When English speakers first borrowed the Greek word katastrophē (from katastrephein, meaning "to overturn") as catastrophe in the 1500s, they used it for the conclusion or final event of a dramatic work, especially of a tragedy. In time, catastrophe came to be used more generally of any unhappy conclusion, or disastrous or ruinous end. By the mid-18th century, it was being used to denote truly devastating events, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Finally, it came to be applied to things that are only figuratively catastrophic—burnt dinners, lost luggage, really bad movies, etc.


  • apocalypse
  • calamity
  • cataclysm
  • debacle
  • débâcle
  • disaster
  • tragedy

See all Synonyms & Antonyms in Thesaurus 

Example Sentences

The oil spill was an environmental catastrophe. Experts fear a humanitarian catastrophe if food isn't delivered to the refugees soon. an area on the brink of catastrophe

Recent Examples on the Web The market for property catastrophe reinsurance is crumbling after a year of extreme weather events, and premiums are set to spike. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 30 Nov. 2022 Any overreliance on foreign inputs in drug supply chains could leave the U.S. open to dire shortages in the event of conflict or natural catastrophe. Richard Vanderford, WSJ, 30 Nov. 2022 Which is a bureaucratic way of saying that plastic pollution—both macroplastics like bags and bottles, and microplastics like fibers from synthetic clothing—is a planetary catastrophe of the highest order, and one that’s getting exponentially worse. WIRED, 29 Nov. 2022 This mysterious woman, fantastically imaginative, transforms their catastrophe and removes this metal shrapnel and turns it into sculptures of beauty and art. David O. Russell, Los Angeles Times, 29 Nov. 2022 Alert to politics, Roth saw earlier than most that Hitler represented catastrophe. Casey Schwartz, New York Times, 26 Nov. 2022 Like mass extinctions of the past, these scenarios posit a catastrophe that will filter out life on Earth until very little or even none remains. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 22 Nov. 2022 Waiting any longer would move the U.S. closer to the brink of a global health catastrophe. Carlos Del Rio, STAT, 21 Nov. 2022 Collaborate closely with allies and take measures to avoid catastrophe. George Packer, The Atlantic, 21 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'catastrophe. ' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Greek katastrophē, from katastrephein to overturn, from kata- + strephein to turn

First Known Use

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler

The first known use of catastrophe was in 1540

See more words from the same year


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“ Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

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Kids Definition



ca·​tas·​tro·​phe kə-ˈtas-trə-(ˌ)fē 


: a sudden disaster


: complete failure : fiasco







Medical Definition



ca·​tas·​tro·​phe kə-ˈtas-trə-fē 

: death (as from an inexplicable cause) before, during, or after an operation

More from Merriam-Webster on


Nglish: Translation of catastrophe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of catastrophe for Arabic Speakers

Britannica. com: Encyclopedia article about catastrophe

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"Catastrophic level of refereeing." Slutsky asked not to appoint referee Ivanov for Rubin's matches

  • RPL
  • Russia
  • Europe
  • Prefabricated

September 20, 2021 22:15

Leonid Slutsky / Photo: © FC Rubin

“Catastrophic level of refereeing”. Slutsky asked not to appoint referee Ivanov for Rubin's matches

Rubin's head coach Leonid Slutsky, after losing to Zenit (1:3) in the RPL, criticized the work of the chief referee of the meeting Sergey Ivanov. During the meeting, the specialist was removed from the technical area.

- Evaluate the referee's decisions in the match: was there a handball before the third goal of Zenit, was there a foul on Ying Boma before you were sent off?

- There, if you list the number of fouls that were and which he did not whistle, I do not have enough fingers and toes. All over the world they protect players of the attacking plan and do it right. We have Kvaratskhelia sitting all over the ice, he has a million bruises, he just has a bunch of hematomas. Well, he probably set it all up for himself. Therefore, I believe, I have already said in a flash interview, that Judge Ivanov is unsuitable for the profession. I do not consider it a coincidence that since 2006 I had one removal, when I was still working at FC Moscow. After that, I already have almost 600 matches in my career at the highest level - no one has removed me. Even the situation with the disqualification in Vitesse was already after the game - I expressed dissatisfaction with the referees, but I was not shown any red card during the match. I believe that two out of three deletions in his entire career, and Ivanov does it both times, is not an accident. I believe that he was either deliberately looking for moments and so ugly judges that horror, and a person needs to be removed, because he transfers personal relationships to professional moments, or he is unsuitable for professional purposes, which means that he also needs to be removed.

- That is, his refereeing has not changed in a year?

- It cannot change, he is not 16 years old, that he is progressing sharply. Even the matches that we won, he always judged ugly. I think6 that it’s just an unsuitable arbitrator, and if there is such an opportunity, it was possible to challenge one arbitrator before, I would gladly challenge Judge Ivanov. Because I consider him, in connection with the changes that have taken place in the judicial department, the weakest among the current judges by a huge margin.

— What exactly did you say to Judge Ivanov before he was removed?

- I did not agree with his decisions. By the way, I didn’t insult him, I didn’t use profanity. I said that he misses a huge number of fouls and that the people of the plan of Kvaratskhelia or In Boma, and not only them, the same applies to the Zenit players, that is, creative players must be protected. And he, passing a huge number of fouls against individually strong players, essentially allows you to break the rules against them endlessly, which leads to injuries. I told him that spectators come to watch the game of Kvaratskhelia, or Malcolm, or Dziuba, but not the refereeing of Mr. Ivanov. To which he showed me yellow cards for the first and second time.

- The stands supported you today.

- This is good, of course, but I would like the head of the judging committee to also support me. I repeat once again that the goals we conceded, I can’t say that... The third goal, yes, when the counterattack started, you can ask questions there. But just the refereeing itself, the number of missed fouls, thwarted attacks, and only one yellow card from Rakitskiy - for me, just a catastrophic level of refereeing. Catastrophic.

- Will "Rubin" write to the ESC or make any notes in the judging protocol?

- You can write to the ESC only for global moments: a scored or not counted goal, you can dispute a yellow card. And the fact that he conceded fouls is not a moment that is written in ESC. I just call on the judging committee - they evaluate each arbitrator, give them marks, they have their own ratings, an internal grading system - just draw attention to this. And pay attention to my personal statistics with Ivanov. For 15 years, two red cards, and both were shown to me by the same referee.

- Didn't Rubin ask after last year's incident not to appoint referee Ivanov to their games?

- We would ask if there was such an option. So I'm asking now at a press conference. But as far as I know, this simply cannot be done according to the regulations.

Zenit will play the next match against Krylya Sovetov on 25 September. The next day, Rubin will play against Dynamo.

View video0004

Source: Official website of FC Rubin

No connection

Konstantin Akinsha: "Avant-garde forgeries are reaching catastrophic proportions"

Avant-garde art market

Art critic, researcher of the history of forgeries, one of the founders of the Foundation for the Study of Russian Avant-Garde believes that it is time to unite to fight fakes

Natalia Shkurenok


Konstantin Akinsha.

Photo: Maxim Belousov/Zenko Foundation

High-profile scandals related to the forgery of works by Russian avant-garde artists erupted in the first months of this year in Europe and Russia: the exhibition of dubious works in the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) in Belgian Ghent, research in the museum- the Rostov Kremlin Reserve, which revealed forgeries of museum exhibits, a court decision in Wiesbaden in the case of the owners of the SMZ gallery, who traded controversial avant-garde paintings. Art critic, curator, researcher of the history of fakes Konstantin Akinsha shared the latest news from Ghent and talked about how fake scandals affect the art market, the reputation of experts and the image of the country.

At what stage is the investigation into the exhibition in Ghent and how, in your opinion, can it end?

Now it's hard to say for sure, but I really hope that the Belgian police will find a decent way out. Since mid-March, an investigation began on the statement of four art dealers that they suffered in connection with this scandal. As part of the investigation, the Belgian police conducted a series of searches: in the MSK Ghent Museum, which included controversial works in its exposition, in the private house of Mr. Toporovsky, who provided the museum with questionable works, and at local officials. In any case, there is already one real positive effect for sure - I am sure that now European museums will be more attentive to such adventures.

The RARP (Russian Avant-Garde Research Project) Foundation for the Study of the Russian Avant-Garde, of which you are a member of the founding board, has existed for several years. Are there any results of his activities?

One of our projects - with the Tretyakov Gallery on the complete digitization of Natalia Goncharova's archive - is already at the final stage. The second, more costly and complex one, with the Ludwig Museum in Cologne on the technological analysis of the works of Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova, is still ongoing. In fact, a reference technological base is being created for these two artists. In the course of the work, it became necessary to clarify the attribution of some paintings from the Ludwig Museum itself, the research led to very interesting results. For example, we found that some of the items in the Cologne collection have been rewritten. Under the landscape, for example, is a portrait. This is the author's work, it is now impossible to separate them, but the museum actually possesses not one, but two paintings. Or, for example, we found out that Larionov got in Paris, probably for a penny, canvases of student studies and painted his paintings on top of them. An excellent base has already been assembled for canvases, pigments, paints, craquelure and so on. Soon we will publish everything on the Internet - anyone can see the results.

Olga Rozanova's "Green Stripe", Kazimir Malevich's "Samovar" and Lyubov Popova's "Objectless Composition" (the last two works have now been identified as forgeries) are among other works on display at the Rostov Kremlin Museum-Reserve. Photograph 2011

Photo: Museum-Reserve "Rostov Kremlin"

But this can also cause the opposite effect, don't you think?

There has already been a discussion about this: what will happen if crooks use our results to make better fakes? Maybe they use it, but, as experience shows, such information does not help crooks: the execution of fakes becomes too expensive. And hiding information does not lead to anything good at all.

I've heard Russian art historians criticize the foundation for focusing too much on Larionov and Goncharova and not allocating funds to other projects.

We are a small fund, dependent on sponsors' money, which makes our work difficult in the current situation. But we are also grantmakers, we are ready to help raise funds for projects within the framework of our tasks, however, so far no one from Russia has approached us with their proposals.

Why are the works of Russian avant-garde artists forged on such a boundless scale?

Everyone fakes, but the boom of fakes happened precisely with Russia and the Russian avant-garde for many reasons. The first fakes appeared back in the 1950s, as described by collectors Georgy Kostaki and Valentin Vorobyov. But then fakes were unique. Val went in the late 1960s - early 1970s, and this is due to the formation of interest in the avant-garde. The Russian avant-garde was discovered in the world after World War II, in the early 1960s. Several Western dealers were pioneers in this business. For example, the gallery of Gmurzhinsky and Bar-Hera in Cologne, Anneli Judah in London, Leonard and Ingrid Hutton in America. For this, an ideal situation developed then: Europe was experiencing the consequences of Nazism, Hitler’s anti-modernism, which, among other things, destroyed art that was considered “degenerate”.

On the wave of compassion for the victims…

On the wave of compassion for the new art that opposed the Nazi matrix! The Russian avant-garde suited everyone. For the left, he was proof that Lenin's policy had been distorted by the accursed Stalin; for the CIA, he was a gift that was used as a factor in the fight for freedom of creative expression.

View of the exposition of Russian avant-garde works, provided by the Dilegem Foundation, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent.

Photo courtesy of Konstantin Akinsha

Did the Iron Curtain create a favorable environment for fakes whose origin cannot be proven?

In fact, the entire avant-garde that came to Europe or America in those years had no provenance! And when buyers asked about him, they were informed in a mysterious whisper: “Well, you understand, this is Soviet Russia! How can we tell you when the people who passed this on are in the clutches of the KGB?”

There were quite wild stories, like the auction of the Kurt Benedict collection, organized by Wally Koretsky, a colorful lady from Switzerland, who claimed that a certain Kurt Benedict traveled to Soviet Russia during the preparation of the First Russian Art Exhibition, held at the Berlin Van Diemen Gallery in 1922 year. All items at the auction were fakes! The production of fakes in Europe was done a lot and fruitfully. Nobody expected the Iron Curtain to fall. It did collapse, the archives were opened, the original works were born, copies of which had been walking around auctions for many years. And scandals began.

But then the wave of interest in the avant-garde - and in the manufacture of fakes for it - rose again?

Yes, I think Russian art history and post-Soviet museums are responsible for this situation. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, for some reason, museum staff decided that they could issue certificates on behalf of museums confirming the authenticity of paintings. The scale of this phenomenon has reached the intensity of the assembly lines of Ford factories. Leading art historians from Russia have not escaped the temptation either. Therefore, special thanks to those who never stooped to confirm fakes, such as Selim Khan-Magomedov.

Is this a purely Russian phenomenon or has something similar happened in European museums?

Purely Russian! If any employee of a European museum allowed himself to write such a certificate, and even more so on the letterhead of the museum, he would immediately fly out of work with a scandal. As a result, after the case of the antiquarians Preobrazhensky, who were sentenced to prison for selling fake landscapes of the Wanderer Alexander Kiselev (who had supporting papers), the Ministry of Culture was forced to intervene in this process and officially prohibit museums from issuing certificates. But until now, occasionally at modest Western auctions, art objects appear with certificates from the Tretyakov Gallery or the Russian Museum, issued almost ten years ago.

Only Russian art historians are to blame, while the Western ones remained white and fluffy?

More than one generation of signers has also grown up in the West. For example, such a “specialist” on Natalia Goncharova as Anthony Parton not only wrote a notorious work about the artist with a huge number of fakes reproduced, but also personally signed many dubious certificates. Or Patricia Reiling - she also wrote out a bunch of certificates and tried to prove that there were no fakes. Just three months ago, at The Bru Sale in Brussels, an amazing Suprematist Malevich was for sale, equipped with her expertise. I know the laboratory of Erhard Jagers in Germany, which confirmed the work that other researchers had the strongest doubts about.

Attributed to Natalia Goncharova. Work from the collection of the Dilegem Foundation in the exposition of the Museum of Fine Arts Ghent.

Photos: courtesy of Konstantin Akinsha

From which regions do counterfeits come to European markets most often?

The main producers, in my opinion, are Russia, Israel, Germany, France. And counterfeiting scandals occur all over Europe. We have already talked about Belgium. The Düsseldorf Museum was forced to confirm that the Suprematist composition by Kazimir Malevich, obtained from the collection of Harald Hack, turned out to be a fake, and it seems to be of Russian origin. At the same time, the so-called 15 million euro case is being completed in Finland. Forgeries were made in Finland, but all the accompanying documentation was made in Russia, and there dozens of Russian art historians made a broad front there.

Is there a difference between fakes made in different countries?

Rather, they have common features, especially noticeable in recent years: now there are fakes of very poor quality on the market. Mistakes are amazing. I'm not talking about the real tragedy of counterfeiters - the old Russian spelling. Yati and er are given to them with great difficulty! It comes to a joke, as at an exhibition in Mantua. There were entirely fakes, absolutely frightening, but one picture simply evoked amazement and even tenderness. Some craftsmen decided to remake the work of Nathan Altman "Petrocommune" and the word "commune" was written in full, but with one "m". In Russian and French, where the word came from, "commune" is written with two "m", and in Italian - with one. Or, for example, one of the secondary auctions in Munich began selling works by "unknown artists of the Russian avant-garde" - apparently of such poor quality that it was difficult to attribute them to famous masters. They sold a still life "Games", dated 1920 years. Everything is as it should be: pipes, chess, cards - and in the middle there is an ashtray with a smoking cigarette with a filter! Although even an illiterate person knows that the first filtered cigarettes were produced only in the late 1930s.

Attributed to Kazimir Malevich. "Suprematism". 1915–1916 Confiscated by the police as part of the Wiesbaden Affair.

Photo: Zarug Collectio

The main problem of many fakes is that the history of art is distorted, artists are destroyed. After all, if Olga Rozanova painted about 100 oil paintings and made 200 drawings and sketches in her short life, and almost a hundred fakes of her works have already been thrown onto the market, it turns out that her work has been devalued by almost a third!

Yes, there is a clogging, a distortion of art history. Therefore, serious research is needed, the creation of standards for technological research and, of course, work with provenance. It's high time to forget all these fairy tales about grandmother's chests and abandoned attics, about museum exhibits thrown out by the Bolsheviks and their distribution to passing citizens ... In my opinion, it's time to create a system for checking the Russian avant-garde, similar to the one that was created for art objects that disappeared during the Second World War .

Is the legislation ready for this? Judging by the latest trials, as in Wiesbaden, the swindlers leave the court with almost impunity.

This is a common problem. Such processes are of great complexity both for the courts and even for simple police operations. For example, as part of the Wiesbaden case, the German police confiscated nearly 2,000 items. But the German police alone cannot conduct a technical and chemical analysis of all the paintings if one examination costs about €7,000! In addition, before the court, one side brings some experts, the other - others, and the judge is not an expert in these matters. As a result, the accused dealers received unexpectedly lenient punishment. The legal framework in this area needs to be changed.

Is there a big international counterfeit conference planned for the end of this year or early next year?

Yes, this is my idea, I hope it works. I would very much like to discuss with museum workers the problem of museum collections and the Russian avant-garde: what is in the collection, are there any questionable things, how to find out and what to do with it, how to check objects at exhibitions, what research to conduct inside, how to check provenances. Museums are ready for this. I have already spoken about Malevich from the Düsseldorf Museum. Another example: the Museum of Contemporary Art "Berlin Gallery" (Berlinische Galerie) found in its collection 14 fake works, including a counter-relief by Vladimir Lebedev, donated by the above-mentioned collectors and art dealers Valli Koretsky and her son Clemens. You yourself mentioned the story of the Rostov Kremlin Museum, where you discovered that two paintings had been replaced with copies for 40 years already.

I have heard that Russian experts are afraid that they will not be invited. But holding a conference without Russia's participation is absurd.

First, we need to organize such a conference, then we will decide who to invite. Of course, we will invite the heads of leading museums. Because it's not just a matter of trust, it's a matter of verification technology. For Russia, where most of the Russian avant-garde artists do not have catalogs-reasonable, where there are practically no absolute authorities in this field, this is especially important.

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