Use debacle to refer to a fiasco, disaster, or great failure. If several dogs run onto the field during the big baseball game, tripping players and chewing up the bases, you can call the whole event a debacle.

Debacle is sometimes used to describe a military defeat. If your army retreats, that's one thing. If your army is outmaneuvered and ends up huddled in a valley, surrounded on all sides by the enemy, forced to sing 90s sitcom theme songs by their savage captors — that's a debacle. Debacle comes from the French débâcler, "to clear," — the prefix des- means "completely, utterly" and the verb bacler means "to block."

Definitions of debacle
  1. noun
    a sudden and violent collapse
    synonyms: fiasco
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    type of:
    a natural event caused by something suddenly falling down or caving in
  2. noun
    flooding caused by a tumultuous breakup of ice in a river during the spring or summer
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    type of:
    alluvion, deluge, flood, inundation
    the rising of a body of water and its overflowing onto normally dry land
  3. noun
    a sound defeat
    synonyms: drubbing, slaughter, thrashing, trouncing, walloping, whipping
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    type of:
    defeat, licking
    an unsuccessful ending to a struggle or contest
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘debacle'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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