Words related to catastrophe


word-forming element meaning "down, downward," but also "through, on, against, concerning," etc., from Latinized form of Greek kata-, before vowels kat-, from kata "down, downward, down from, down to," from PIE *kmt- "down, with, along" (source also of Hittite kattan (adv.) "below, underneath," katta "along with"). Occasionally in Greek it had senses of "against" (catapult) or "wrongly" (catachresis), also "along, through, over, across, concerning." Also sometimes used as an intensive or with a sense of completion of action (catalogue). Very active in ancient Greek, this prefix is found in English mostly in words borrowed through Latin after c. 1500.


Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to wind, turn."

It forms all or part of: anastrophe; antistrophe; apostrophe (n.1); apostrophe (n.2); boustrophedon; catastrophe; epistrophe; strabismus; strap; strep; strepto-; streptococcus; streptomycin; strobe; strobic; stroboscope; strop; strophe; strophic.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek strophe "stanza," originally "a turning," strephein "to turn," strophaligs "whirl, whirlwind," streblos "twisted," stremma "that which is twisted."

catastrophic (adj.)

"pertaining to or of the nature of a catastrophe," 1824, from catastrophe + -ic. Related: Catastrophical; catastrophically.

catastrophism (n.)

as a geological or biological theory (opposed to uniformitarianism), 1869, coined by T.H. Huxley from catastrophe + -ism. Related: Catastrophist.

By CATASTROPHISM I mean any form of geological speculation which, in order to account for the phenomena of geology, supposes the operation of forces different in their nature, or immeasurably different in power, from those which we at present see in action in the universe. [Huxley, "Address" to the Geological Society of London, Feb. 19, 1869]