Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

disaster - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun [countable/uncountable] disaster pronunciation in British English /dɪˈzɑːstə(r)/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    something very bad that happens and causes a lot of damage or kills a lot of people

    A series of disasters forced the company to close down.

    a natural disaster:

    Protect your property from natural disasters such as flooding.

    disaster strikes (=a disaster happens):

    Disaster struck when the plane’s engine exploded shortly after take-off.

    end in disaster:

    The expedition ended in disaster, with three people being killed.

    be a disaster for/spell disaster for (=have a very bad effect on):

    More bad weather would spell disaster for this year’s wheat crop.

  2. 2
    something that is annoying or a failure, but is not really very bad

    My carefully planned party had been a complete disaster.



to fall over forwards so that your face hits the ground or another surface

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play