From Middle English cataract, cateract, cateracte, cataracta, from Latin cataracta (“waterfall, portcullis”), from Ancient Greek καταρράκτης (katarrháktēs), from καταράσσω (katarássō, “I pour down”), from κατα- (kata-, “down”) + ἀράσσω (arássō, “to strike, dash”). Its pathological sense probably came from its alternative sense in Latin, “portcullis”, through French through the notion of “obstruction”, in this case, of vision.
cataract (plural cataracts)
- (obsolete) A waterspout.
- A large waterfall; steep rapids in a river.
- The cataracts on the Nile helped to compartment Upper Egypt.
- A flood of water.
- (Can we add an example for this sense?)
- (figuratively) An overwhelming downpour or rush.
- His cataract of eloquence
- 2022 May 19, James Verini, “Surviving the Siege of Kharkiv”, in The New York Times Magazine:
- As if on cue came a cataract of explosions. She turned on her heel and scurried back to the courtyard and down into the school’s basement. The dirt floor, low ceiling and unfinished stone walls were barely illuminated by candles and a dim string of green decorative lights.
- (pathology) A clouding of the lens in the eye leading to a decrease in vision.
- 1999, J. J. Gallo, J. Busby-Whitehead, W. Reichel, P. V. Rabins, R. A. Silliman, Reichel’s Care of the Elderly, page 563:
- Rarely, a dense, swollen neglected cataract precipitates an angle-closure glaucoma.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- katarakt (superseded)
cataract (plural cateractes)