in ,

Word of the Week: Debacle, Dilate, Dire

This year, why not expand your vocabulary one thesaurus section at a time?

Word of the Week: Debacle 

How to say it

Debacle (dey-bah-kuhl, –bakuhl, duh)

What it means

  • a general breakup or dispersion;
  • sudden downfall or rout: The revolution ended in a debacle.
  • a complete collapse or failure.

Where it comes from

Debacle comes from the French noun débâcle, which comes from the verb débâcler,meaning “to clear,” “to unbolt,” or “to unbar.” That verb is from Middle French desbacler, which joined the prefix des- (equivalent to our de-, meaning “to do the opposite of”) with the verb “bacler” (“to block”). In its original uses, “debacle” meant a breaking up of ice, or the rush of ice or water that follows such an occurrence. Eventually, “debacle” was used also to mean “a violent, destructive flood.” Naturally, such uses led to meanings such as “a breaking up,” “collapse,” and finally “disaster” or “fiasco.”

Examples of debacle in a Sentence

The collapse of the company was described as the greatest financial debacle in U.S. history.

Word of the Week: Dilate 

How to say it

Debacle (dahy-leyt, dih-, dahy-leyt)

What it means

VERB TRANSITIVE

1.  to make wider or larger; cause to expand or swell; stretch

VERB INTRANSITIVE

2.  to become wider or larger; swell3.  to speak or write in detail (on or upon a subject)

Where it comes from

Debacle comes from the French noun débâcle, which comes from the verb débâcler,meaning “to clear,” “to unbolt,” or “to unbar.” That verb is from Middle French Middle English, from Middle French dilater, from Latin dilatare, literally, to spread wide, from dis- + latus wide

Examples of debacle in a Sentence

 The drug causes the blood vessels to dilate.  

During labor, a woman’s cervix will dilate to about 10 centimeters.

Word of the Week: Dire

How to say it

Debacle (dahyuhr)

What it means

1. ADJECTIVE

Dire is used to emphasize how serious or terrible a situation or event is.

.2. ADJECTIVE If you describe something as dire, you are emphasizing that it is of very low quality.

Where it comes from


First recorded in 1560–70, dire is from the Latin word dīrus fearful, unlucky

Examples of debacle in a Sentence

The commission predicted that the future would be bleaker and that there would be dire consequences for the state’s economy if sweeping changes were not made.

After a Stunning Performance, Get to Know U.S. Olympic Gymnast All-Around Gold Medalist Suni Lee

Day 6 Olympics highlights: Gymnast gold, soccer longevity and a blue bandanna