An earthquake, an oil spill, an economic collapse, a party with inedible food and truly awful music: Each of these could be described as a disaster, a cataclysmic event causing extreme suffering, even total destruction.
Disaster made its way into the English language from Greek. The second part of the word is derived from astron — "star" or "planet," familiar from words like astronomy and astronaut. Dis- is prefix with a meaning similar to "un-" or "mis-," but with clearly negative connotations. Translated literally, disaster means "bad or unlucky star," and it's a relic of a time when astrology was considered a serious science that could predict events — including disasters you might try to avoid — in your life on Earth!