1 bad event/situation
awful, big, catastrophic, devastating, enormous (esp. AmE), great, horrible, huge, large-scale (esp. AmE), major, massive, terrible, worst

the biggest disaster in the history of the industry

deadly (AmE)

the deadliest natural disaster in US history

imminent, impending, looming

Everyone had the feeling that disaster was imminent.

It seemed that nothing could prevent the impending disaster.

possible, potential

It would spell certain economic disaster for our local community.

coming, future

He called for a full investigation to help prevent future disasters.


the unforeseen disaster that has just been thrust upon us


This is an unprecedented natural disaster.

global, national

earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters

air, ecological, environmental, flood, flooding, hurricane, military, mine (esp. AmE), mining, nuclear, rail, tsunami

fears of a nuclear disaster

human, humanitarian

the world's worst humanitarian disaster

economic, financial, social

Their departure spells social disaster for the region.


the unfolding storm disaster in the South


Hurricane Katrina was the costliest natural disaster in history.

bring, cause, create, lead to

One person's mistakes can bring disaster to someone else.

attempts to find out what caused the disaster

mean, spell

Just one mistake can mean disaster.

The drought spelled economic disaster for the country.

avert, avoid, prevent, save sb/sth from, stave off, ward off

A major disaster was averted only just in time.

What can be done to ward off environmental disaster?

anticipate, foresee, predict

Independent analysts in the market predicted disaster.

court, invite

It's courting disaster to go into the mountains without proper weatherproof clothing.

be heading for

his firm belief that the whole world was heading for disaster


In the last match of the series England were facing disaster.

experience, suffer

There are many who have suffered personal disasters but managed to rebuild their lives.


No government could have handled a disaster of this magnitude effectively.

overcome, survive

It was a miracle any of the passengers or crew survived the disaster.

end in, result in

The show ended in disaster when the tent collapsed.

happen, occur, strike, take place

Will we ever find out why the disaster occurred?

Everything was going fine. Then, without warning, disaster struck.

When disaster struck, no one was prepared.


Europe's worst environmental disaster is unfolding at this very moment.

befall sb/sth, hit sb/sth, strike (sb/sth)

the economic disaster that befell the country

affect sb/sth

communities affected by disasters

loom, threaten

We could all see that disaster loomed for the company.


His prediction was not heeded, and disaster ensued.

area, scene, site, zone

Only rescue workers are allowed into the disaster area.

The area has been declared a disaster zone.

aid (esp. AmE), assistance (esp. AmE), relief, response

counties eligible for federal disaster assistance

The disaster relief operation will continue over the summer.

recovery (esp. AmE)

The majority of enterprises aren't spending very much on disaster recovery at all.

plan, planning (both esp. AmE)

We have a disaster plan in place before every mission.

preparation, preparedness (both esp. AmE)

the planning and implementation of disaster preparedness


They had no real experience in disaster management.

declaration (AmE)

This morning I signed a disaster declaration for the state.


the governor's disaster fund


It become a financial disaster scenario.

film (esp. BrE), flick (informal), movie (esp. AmE)

a Hollywood disaster movie

in a/the disaster

In a disaster everyone needs to keep calm.

a disaster waiting to happen

Any one of these nuclear plants may be a disaster waiting to happen.

in the aftermath of a disaster

In the aftermath of the disaster people were too shocked to give a clear picture of what had happened.

a recipe for disaster

Letting her organize the party is a recipe for disaster (= sth that is likely to go badly wrong).

a walking disaster, a walking disaster area (both figurative, esp. BrE)

I am a walking disaster when it comes to paperwork.

a victim of a disaster

an organization which provides help for the victims of the disaster

2 a failure
absolute, complete, real, total, unmitigated, utter

The play was a complete disaster from beginning to end.

business, economic, electoral, fashion, financial, political, public relations (abbreviated to PR), social

the greatest electoral disaster of the century

The shirt was a definite fashion disaster.

Buying that house turned out to be a financial disaster.

prove, turn out to be

High-rise buildings proved a social disaster.

become, turn into

I can already foresee the night turning into a total disaster.

a disaster for sb/sth

The festival ended up being a financial disaster for the promoters.

Collocations dictionary. 2013.

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  • Disaster — Dis*as ter, n. [F. d[ e]sastre; pref. d[ e]s (L. dis ) + astre star, fr. L. astrum; a word of astrological origin. See {Aster}, {Astral}, {Star}.] 1. An unpropitious or baleful aspect of a planet or star; malevolent influence of a heavenly body;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • disaster — I noun adversity, affliction, bale, bane, blight, blunder, breakdown, brutum fulmen, calamitas, calamity, casualty, cataclysm, catastrophe, clades, collapse, contretemps, crushing reverse, deabacle, devastation, downfall, emergency, extremity,… …   Law dictionary

  • disaster — [di zas′tər, dizäs′tər; ] also [ dis as′tər, disäs′tər] n. [OFr desastre < It disastro < L dis + astrum < Gr astron (see ASTRAL), star: from astrological notions: cf. ILL STARRED] any happening that causes great harm or damage; serious… …   English World dictionary

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  • disaster — ► NOUN 1) a sudden accident or a natural catastrophe that causes great damage or loss of life. 2) an event or fact leading to ruin or failure. ORIGIN Italian disastro ill starred event , from Latin astrum star …   English terms dictionary

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