Use the word calamity to describe an event that causes great harm and misery, or a general state of distress or misery: the calamity of war.
Near synonyms are catastrophe and disaster. The noun calamity is from Middle English calamytey, from Latin calamitas, a word which might be related to Latin clades "destruction." Calamity Jane was the nickname of a 19th-century woman living on the U.S. frontier. She claimed to have some very exciting adventures.
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