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calamities
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Calamities

Calamity \Ca*lam"i*ty\n.; pl. Calamities. [L. calamitas, akin to in-columis unharmed: cf. F. calamit['e]]

  1. Any great misfortune or cause of misery; -- generally applied to events or disasters which produce extensive evil, either to communities or individuals.

    Note: The word calamity was first derived from calamus when the corn could not get out of the stalk.
    --Bacon.

    Strokes of calamity that scathe and scorch the soul.
    --W. Irving.

  2. A state or time of distress or misfortune; misery.

    The deliberations of calamity are rarely wise.
    --Burke.

    Where'er I came I brought calamity.
    --Tennyson.

    Syn: Disaster; distress; affliction; adversity; misfortune; unhappiness; infelicity; mishap; mischance; misery; evil; extremity; exigency; downfall.

    Usage: Calamity, Disaster, Misfortune, Mishap, Mischance. Of these words, calamity is the strongest. It supposes a somewhat continuous state, produced not usually by the direct agency of man, but by natural causes, such as fire, flood, tempest, disease, etc, Disaster denotes literally ill-starred, and is some unforeseen and distressing event which comes suddenly upon us, as if from hostile planet. Misfortune is often due to no specific cause; it is simply the bad fortune of an individual; a link in the chain of events; an evil independent of his own conduct, and not to be charged as a fault. Mischance and mishap are misfortunes of a trivial nature, occurring usually to individuals. ``A calamity is either public or private, but more frequently the former; a disaster is rather particular than private; it affects things rather than persons; journey, expedition, and military movements are often attended with disasters; misfortunes are usually personal; they immediately affect the interests of the individual.''
    --Crabb.

Wiktionary
calamities

n. (plural of calamity English)

Usage examples of "calamities".

  It reached at length the ears of Didius Julianus, a wealthy senator, who, regardless of the public calamities, was indulging himself in the luxury of the table.

  In the midst of these just alarms, the stroke of domestic conspiracy punished the crimes of Maximin, and delivered Rome and the senate from the calamities that would surely have attended the victory of an enraged barbarian.

  Their vexatious inroads were changed into formidable irruptions, and, after a long vicissitude of mutual calamities, many tribes of the victorious invaders established themselves in the provinces of the Roman Empire.

  Among their exploits, the imperfect relation of which would have unseasonably interrupted the more important series of domestic revolutions, we shall only mention the repeated calamities of the two great cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon.

  But while the conquerors abandoned themselves to the license of plunder and intemperance, their fleet, that lay with a slender guard in the harbor of Piraeus, was unexpectedly attacked by the brave Dexippus, who, flying with the engineer Cleodamus from the sack of Athens, collected a hasty band of volunteers, peasants as well as soldiers, and in some measure avenged the calamities of his country.

The indignation of the people imputed all their calamities to Gallienus, and the far greater part were indeed, the consequence of his dissolute manners and careless administration.

  He was fully convinced that nothing could reconcile the minds of the barbarians to peace, unless they experienced, in their own country, the calamities of war.

  The captive barbarians, exchanging death for slavery, were distributed among the provincials, and assigned to those districts (in Gaul, the territories of Amiens, Beauvais, Cambray, Treves, Langres, and Troyes, are particularly specified ^37) which had been depopulated by the calamities of war.

  After he had lost the assistance, and disdained the moderate counsels of Diocletian, the second period of his active life was a series of public calamities and personal mortifications, which were terminated, in about three years, by an ignominious death.

When they are desirous of arming their disciples against the fear of death, they inculcate, as an obvious, though melancholy position, that the fatal stroke of our dissolution releases us from the calamities of life.

Their gloomy and austere aspect, their abhorrence of the common business and pleasures of life, and their frequent predictions of impending calamities, ^16 inspired the Pagans with the apprehension of some danger, which would arise from the new sect, the more alarming as it was the more obscure.

  But in less than thirty years, this numerous and increasing family was reduced to the persons of Constantius and Julian, who alone had survived a series of crimes and calamities, such as the tragic poets have deplored in the devoted lines of Pelops and of Cadmus.

  His minority was exposed to the almost inevitable calamities of domestic discord.

  He protests, however, that he then foresaw and foretold the calamities of the church and state.

  The emperor passed the Danube on a bridge of boats, cut in pieces all that encountered his march, penetrated into the heart of the country of the Quadi, and severely retaliated the calamities which they had inflicted on the Roman province.