AskDefine | Define apocalyptic

Dictionary Definition

apocalyptic adj
1 prophetic of devastation or ultimate doom [syn: apocalyptical, revelatory]
2 of or relating to an apocalypse

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a UK /əˈpɒk.ə.lɪp.tɪk/, /@"pQk.@.lIp.tIk/


  1. Of, or relating to an apocalypse
  2. Portending future disaster, devastation and doom
  3. Revelatory or prophetic

Derived terms


of or relating to an apocalypse
  • Catalan: apocalíptic
  • Dutch: apocalyptisch
  • French: apocalyptique
  • German: apokalyptisch
  • Portuguese: apocalíptico
  • Romanian: apocaliptic
  • Spanish: apocalíptico
portending future disaster
revelatory or prophetic

Extensive Definition

Apocalypticism is a worldview based on the idea that important matters are esoteric in nature ("hidden") and they will soon be revealed in a major confrontation of earth-shaking magnitude that will change the course of history. Apocalypticism can be tied to religious or secular views, and the expected outcome can be seen as positive, negative, or ambiguous. It can appear as a personal and group tendency, outlook, perceptual frame, or rhetorical style; and can lead people toward passivity while awaiting the inevitable end, or active preparation in anticipation of an "apocalyptic" event.
Apocalypticism is a frequent theme of literature, film and television. It also influences political policy through movements such as Christian Zionism, and in the dualism seen when politicians demonize their enemies as wholly bad, evil, or even Satanic. This process often involves conspiracism, in which the apocalyptic enemy is alleged to be engaged in a conspiracy against the good or Godly people.
The tendency was especially evident with the approach of the millennial year 2000, but it need not be tied to a particular calendar date.

Christian premillennial apocalyptic writers

Apocalyptic songs

Millenarian cults

Further reading (chronological)

  • Boyer, Paul S. (1992). When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap/Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-95128-X
  • Cohn, Norman. (1993). Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come: The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09088-9
  • Aukerman, Dale. (1993). Reckoning with Apocalypse. New York: Crossroad. ISBN 0-8245-1243-X
  • O’Leary, Stephen. (1994). Arguing the Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508045-9
  • Quinby, Lee. (1994). Anti-Apocalypse: Exercises in Genealogical Criticism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-2278-7 (hard bound) ISBN 0-8166-2279-5 (paperback)
  • Strozier, Charles B. (1994). Apocalypse: On the Psychology of Fundamentalism in America. Boston: Beacon Press. ISBN 0-8070-1226-2
  • Fuller, Robert C. (1995). Naming the Antichrist: The History of an American Obsession. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508244-3
  • Thompson, Damian. (1996). The End of Time: Faith and Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium. London: Sinclair-Stevenson. ISBN 1-85619-795-6
  • Thompson, Damian. (1997). The End of Time: Faith and Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England. ISBN 0-87451-849-0
  • Strozier, Charles B, and Michael Flynn, eds. 1997. The Year 2000: Essays on the End. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-8030-X (hard bound) ISBN 0-8147-8031-8 (paperback)
  • Robbins, Thomas, and Susan J. Palmer, eds. 1997. Millennium, Messiahs, and Mayhem: Contemporary Apocalyptic Movements. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-91648-8 (hard bound) ISBN 0-415-91649-6 (paperback)
  • Stewart, Kathleen and Susan Harding. 1999. "Bad Endings: American Apocalypsis." Annual Review of Anthropology, 28, pp. 285-310.
  • Allison, Dale C. (1999) Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet (Augsburg Fortress) ISBN 0-8006-3144-7
  • Wessinger, Catherine, ed.. 2000. Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence: Historical Cases. Religion and Politics Series, Michael Barkun, (ed.). Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0-8156-2809-9 (hard bound) ISBN 0-8156-0599-4 (paperback)
  • Stone, Jon R., ed. 2000. Expecting Armageddon: Essential Readings in Failed Prophecy. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-92331-X (paperback)
  • Brasher, Brenda E. 2000. "From Revelation to The X-Files: An Autopsy of Millennialism in American Popular Culture", Semeia 82:281-295.
  • Mason, Carol. 2002. Killing for Life: The Apocalyptic Narrative of Pro-life Politics. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-3920-5 (hard cover) ISBN 0-8014-8819-2 (paperback)
  • Urstadt, Bryant. 2006. "Imagine there's no oil: scenes from a liberal apocalypse. (Viewpoint essay)." Harper's Magazine 313.1875 (August 2006): 31(9)
  • Kobb, Kurt. 2006. "Apocalypse always: Is the peak oil movement really just another apocalyptic cult?" (August 5, 2006). Accessed on October 14, 2006.
apocalyptic in Czech: Apokalyptika
apocalyptic in Danish: Apokalyptik
apocalyptic in German: Apokalyptik
apocalyptic in Estonian: Apokalüptika

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1