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
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