The word calamity comes from the language Latin: calamĭtas. The concept is used to refer to a disaster or one catastrophe It affects a large number of individuals.
For example: “Last year's earthquake was a calamity: there were hundreds of deaths and many families lost their homes”, “If the company closes its doors it will be a calamity for the whole village ”, “We have not had electricity for five days! It is a calamity! ”.
The idea of calamity is usually linked to a tragic or very negative event . Suppose a tsunami devastates an island, leaving many wounded and dead and destroying the local infrastructure. It can be said that this natural phenomenon is a calamity, or that it caused a calamity in the island population.
Sometimes the term calamity is used to mention a situation that causes a certain pain , anguish or discomfort , without becoming a tragedy. If he San Vicente Athletic Club misses 8 to 0 with the Deportivo La Carolina , footballers and supporters of equipment Loser may consider the result to be a calamity. This discomfort, however, cannot be compared with the suffering that the victims of a real tragedy are going through.
It is important to note that misfortune, the adversity and the misfortune that this concept represents can affect both a group of living beings (ranging from a few to entire communities) and only one in particular. For example, we can say that "The tsunami represented a real calamity for the whole country"but also that "This child has seen nothing but abuse and calamities in his short life".
Calamity, finally, can refer to a subject that is awkward, inept or annoying : “You are a calamity! Again you have forgotten to attend the meeting with the managers ”, “This waiter is a calamity, he confused all the dishes and brought them cold”, "Today I am a calamity, I better go to nap".
Continuing with the etymology of the term calamity, we know that it derives from Latin calamitas, calamitatis, whose meaning is "damage, blow, scourge." Precisely, these words with which we can define the original are closely related to the meaning that we currently give to the concept, figuratively: a misfortune that ruins someone's life can also be understood as a knock or a scourge that gives him life, something terrible that causes him a hurt Very deep and irreparable.
The root of the Latin term is * Kel-2, of Indo-European origin and has the connotation of "beat, cut". Other Latin words that share it are gladius, which can be translated as "sword", and incolumis, "intact, safe and sound, without harm"; from the first derive gladiolus and gladiator, and from the second we obtained include me.
If we go back to the time when the italic peoples (Latin, Umbros, Oscos) really used the word calamitas, the history of its evolution and its meaning becomes much clearer. It turns out that these communities, in times of harvest, had to invest a lot of time in the task called threshing, which consists of separating the harvested wheat from the calamus, that is, the "straw" or the "cane ".
At that time, since the Mediterranean is normal winds that blow northward at harvest times, sometimes it happened that the wheat mixed again with the calamus, absolutely useless for the harvest. Such a situation constituted a real calamity, since the fruits of the threshing were fading, and it was necessary to do the work again. If we take into account that even today a bad harvest can put the economy at risk, it goes without saying that the consequences in times of the Old Empire were not precisely mild.