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A catastrophe is an extremely large-scale disaster, a horrible event.Catastrophe comes from a Greek word meaning "overturn." It originally referred to the disastrous finish of a drama, usually a tragedy. The definition was extended to mean "any sudden disaster" in the 1700s. Nowadays, catastrophe can be used to refer to very tragic events as well as more minor ones. A hurricane destroying hundreds of homes is certainly a catastrophe; baking a birthday cake without following a recipe might also result in catastrophe, if you don't know anything about cooking.
The term may also refer to:
- The mathematical catastrophe theory by the French mathematician René Thom.
- Catastrophe (book), a non-fiction book by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
- Catastrophe (drama), the climax and resolution of a plot in ancient Greek drama and poetry
- Catastrophe, the main antagonist in The Secret Files of the Spy Dogs
- Catastrophe (play), a 1982 short play by Samuel Beckett
- Catastrophe (TV series), a five-part science series on Channel 4
- The (Asia Minor) Catastrophe, a Greek name for the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey
- Catastrophic failure, complete failure of a system from which recovery is impossible (e.g. a bridge collapses)
- Catastrophic (band), rock band featuring Trevor Peres
- In mathematics, the object of study in catastrophe theory .
- The Nakba, the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians from their homes
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