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Alternative forms[edit]


catastrophe +‎ -ize


  • IPA(key): /kəˈtæstɹəfaɪz/
  • Hyphenation: ca‧tas‧tro‧phize


catastrophize (third-person singular simple present catastrophizes, present participle catastrophizing, simple past and past participle catastrophized)

  1. To regard a bad situation as if it were disastrous or catastrophic.
  2. (obsolete) To end a comedy.


  • 1623 Henry Cockeram, Chauncey Brewster Tinker - The English Dictionarie of 1623
    ‘To end a Comedy or the like’ (Quoted in OED)
  • 1947 Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, University of Michigan Research Center for Group Dynamics - Human Relations
    Particularly likely to overreact are those who tend to catastrophize (Ellis, 1962) and those who have Type A personalities (Friedman & Rosenman, 1974)
  • 2001 David H. Barlow - Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders
    Another way to catastrophize is to jump to an extreme conclusion from an unimportant or irrelevant event.


  • OED 2nd edition 1989 + 2004 (online)