V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary
Definition: total disaster, utter defeat, or humiliating failure, often involving chaotic or extreme situations
Synonyms: catastrophe, devastation, fiasco, defeat, rout, ruin, disaster
Tips: Debacle comes from the French word débâcler, literally “to unbar” (used when speaking of ice breaking on a river in a sudden and violent rush). The imagery of a sudden and chaotic disaster which completely and irreparably ruins something captures the modern meaning of debacle. Debacle is most often used in business and personal scenarios. Debacle is NOT often used when referring to natural disasters--catastrophe is a more commonly used word for large natural disasters.
Yesterday's game was a complete debacle; we lost by 70 points. (rout, defeat)
The election was a debacle for the party, which lost heavily in almost every district. (defeat, disaster)
The company's terrible publicity debacle left everyone wondering whether they still had a job come Monday. (fiasco, disaster)
The company's financial debacle left many people jobless and robbed of their life savings. (ruin, disaster)
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