American English

Definition of disaster noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] an unexpected event, such as a very bad accident, a flood, or a fire, that kills a lot of people or causes a lot of damage synonym catastrophe an air disaster environmental disasters Thousands died in the disaster. see also natural disaster
  2. 2[countable, uncountable] a very bad situation that causes problems Losing your job doesn't have to be such a disaster. Disaster struck when the wheel came off. financial disaster The discovery of the disease among cows spells financial disaster for farmers. Letting her organize the party is a recipe for disaster (= something that is likely to go badly wrong).
  3. 3[countable, uncountable] (informal) a complete failure As a teacher, he's a disaster. The play's first night was a total disaster.
  4. Idioms
    an accident/a disaster waiting to happen
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    a thing or person that is very likely to cause danger or a problem in the future because of the condition it is in or the way they behave
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: disaster