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cataclysm (noun) a terrible and violent event.
A terrible event causing great suffering to a large group of people is a cataclysm. It usually affects a large area and all the people therein. It may cause great changes in the existing order of things. Destructive wars, violent revolutions, floods, earthquakes, etc., are examples of cataclysms.
- The cataclysm that overtook southern Asia in December 2004, in the form of a tsunami, engulfed whole towns and cities, and left hundreds of thousands of people dead.
- The world, it appears, has not realized the value and importance of peace for human survival and progress, even after the cataclysm of World War II, which caused death and destruction on a vast scale.