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CATACLYSM

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CATACLYSM

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Sep 24, 2005 10:47 pm

• cataclysm •

Pronunciation: kæ-tê-kli-zêm • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A devastating flood, a deluge. 2. A sudden, violent change in the Earth's crust. 3. A catastrophe of the first magnitude.

Notes: First, you must remember that this word contains the prefix cata-, ending on an [a], not the [e] seen in category. Next you must remember this is an -ism word spelt with a [y]: -ysm (NO silent [e]). Finally, you have your choice of adjectives, cataclysmal or cataclysmic, both of which become adverbs with -ly attached to their end: cataclysmally or cataclysmically. Now that we know how to use it, let's hope we will never have to.

In Play: The cataclysm (in the original sense) that all but decimated New Orleans earlier this month seems not to have been visited upon Texas and eastern Louisiana by hurricane Rita. However, cataclysm will still define the devastation in some areas if Rita's path. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to all those in Rita's path and especially to those in Louisiana who are suffering yet again from the wrath of Mother Nature in the Gulf.

Word History: Today's riveting word is French cataclysme, the legal descendant of Latin cataclysmos "deluge, huge flood". The Romans borrowed the word from Greek kataklusmos, the noun of the verb katakluzein "to inundate, to deluge" made up of kata- "against, thoroughly" + kluzein "to wash away". The root is akin to that in Latin cloaca "drain, sewer". It is interesting that the original meaning of this word fits the wakes of Katrina and Rita more tightly than catastrophe. (Today's word blew into to the fertile mind of our old friend, Susan Lister, as she watched the news of Rita's approach.)
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Re: CATACLYSM

Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Sep 25, 2005 11:01 am

Dr. Goodword wrote: ... Our heartfelt sympathies go out to all those in Rita's path and especially to those in Louisiana who are suffering yet again from the wrath of Mother Nature in the Gulf. ...


Agreed. And, I hope, also to those in Bangladesh and those residing on China's east coast who recently were struck by devastating storms. Don't forget that a majority - about 80 % - of these tropical cyclones form in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, whereas perhaps 10 % originate in the Atlantic. We are all, more than ever, in the same boat....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby KatyBr » Sun Sep 25, 2005 2:07 pm

Fortunately, she says drily, most storms never make it to land but fizzle out in the deep blue sea.

Kt
(as to all of the name brand storms they are alphabetical, and are supposed to alternate gender specificity (?), so one can see if we go from Katrina to Rita there may have been a few fizzled storms in between)
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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:47 am

Those interested in the mechanisms that create and power such storms as Katrina and Rita in the Gulf of Mexico, or the latest typhoon, yclept Damrey, to strike the Philippines, Hainan, China and then Vietnam will, I think, find Andrew Revikin's article - and in particular the graphics - in the Science section of today's New York Times of especial interest....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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