/keuh tas"treuh fee/, n.1. a sudden and widespread disaster: the catastrophe of war.2. any misfortune, mishap, or failure; fiasco: The play was so poor our whole evening was a catastrophe.3. a final event or conclusion, usually an unfortunate one; a disastrous end: the great catastrophe of the Old South at Appomattox.4. (in a drama) the point at which the circumstances overcome the central motive, introducing the close or conclusion; dénouement. Cf. catastasis, epitasis, protasis.5. Geol. a sudden, violent disturbance, esp. of a part of the surface of the earth; cataclysm.6. Also called catastrophe function. Math. any of the mathematical functions that describe the discontinuities that are treated in catastrophe theory.[1570-80; < Gk katastrophé an overturning, akin to katastréphein to overturn. See CATA-, STROPHE]Ant. 1, 3. triumph.
* * *in literature, the final action that completes the unraveling of the plot in a play, especially in a tragedy. Catastrophe is a synonym of denouement. The term is sometimes applied to a similar action in a novel or story.
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