cataclysm(redirected from cataclysmal)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
1. a disastrous flood; deluge
2. Geology another name for catastrophe
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
cataclysma major physical and/or social upheaval that disrupts a previous ecological and/or social order to such an extent as to lead to the extinction of species and/or the elimination of a society. For example, it has been suggested that rather than merely endogenous social factors, forces such as climatic change (e.g. from volcanic eruption, meteorites) and/or epidemic diseases may have been responsible for periodic cataclysmic changes in social life. Such events as these, it has been suggested, may be behind the collapse of some South American societies and the replacement of feudal by capitalist society
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000