Why was the scary word “cataclysm” so popular on Google yesterday? What does it mean?

Why does cataclysm mean exactly?

If a word like “cataclysm,” that basically means “a ginormous, Armageddon–style disaster” is all over the Web, you might feel a tad cantankerous, or at least concerned. Would it make you feel better to know that the news was greeted by thousands of geeks around the world with glee?

Enough teasing — “Cataclysm” refers to the latest installment of “World of Warcraft,” the multiplayer fantasy game played by millions. Gamers are probably salivating at the announced return of Deathwing the Destroyer, last seen in “Warcraft II,” but name itself evokes real-life stories and adventure.

(Note as well that the word “Geek” has a gross and bizarre origin. What about “nerd?” The answer is here.)

Cataclysm” entered English through French, but has its roots in Greek, stemming from kataklysmos or “wash down.” The word has long been associated with the myth of the deluge, an idea that occurs in diverse cultures that flood and destruction envelop the planet as divine punishment for earthly misdeeds. Noah, his ark, and the Biblical flood are probably the most familiar example. The washing down is also linked to rebirth and second chances.

Another association of cataclysm is to Doomsday, a Biblical term for the judgment that is also used to describe man made or natural phenomena that could spell doom for the human race or fundamentally alter the landscape. Such nightmarish situations as the Harrying of the North by William the Conqueror, which left Yorkshire, England, in a state of chaos for nearly a century, would be a doomsday event.  Players can expect a similarly catastrophic event with the return of Deathwing.

The study of endings, and end times, is known as eschatology, from the Greek eskhatos, “last, furthest, remote”, and -logia “a speaking.” Any eschatologist or linguist worth his or her salt has to appreciate the uniqueness of “cataclysm.” Say it out loud: the word features three voiceless plosives or stops in a row, producing a pleasant tattoo of sound that is uncommon in English. In other words, it’s a fun way to say “destruction.”

Now, consider this techie question: What does the “I” stand for in iPod, iPhone, and iPad? Click here to find out, before the apocalypse begins.

Insurer resumes coverage

Central Penn Business Journal November 19, 2004 | Olenchek, Christina After a seven-year absence, HealthAmerica Pennsylvania Inc. is getting back into selling health insurance to individuals.

Individuals will be able to apply for the Dauphin County insurer’s new coverage in late December or early January. The first policies are expected to go into effect Feb. 1.

HealthAmerica thinks there is great potential for health-insurance coverage marketed to individuals, said Francis S. Soistman Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Swatara Township company. Such coverage appeals to a broad range of people, including the unemployed, sole proprietors and college students, he said.

“We think it’s a growing market,” Soistman said.

HealthAmerica joins several other companies that already offer health insurance to individuals. Those insurers include Capital BlueCross, Highmark Blue Shield, Geisinger Health Plan and Aetna Inc.

The preferred-provider organization (PPO) plans HealthAmerica will offer have a variety of deductibles. The deductibles range from $500 to $3,000 for single coverage and from $1,000 to $6,000 for family coverage.

Some of the high-deductible plans will be compatible with health savings accounts, which are accounts people can use for medical expenses. The idea behind such accounts is consumers will use health-care dollars more responsibly if they are forced to control their spending.

The cost of the plans will depend on factors such as the person’s age, gender and whether the person smokes. The plans will be medically underwritten, meaning information about an individuals health status and claims history will help determine the cost of his or her coverage. In addition, claims related to preexisting conditions will not be paid for during the first year of coverage. here highmark blue shield

Plan prices vary from insurer to insurer. A 34-year-old male, for example, can pay as little as $64 a month for a high-deductible PPO plan from Aetna or $111 a month for a managed-care plan. Geisinger and Capital BlueCross offer managedcare-style plans for $181 and $230, respectively, according to the insurers’ Web sites.

HealthAmerica last offered individual plans from early 1996 to early 1998. The company exited the market so it could focus on developing its group business, Soistman said.

During the past several years, however, the need for individual insurance has grown, Soistman said. Some employers are dropping health-care coverage and more people are working as independent contractors, he said.

“There seems to be a shift in that employer-employee relationship,” Soistman said.

The percentage of workers receiving health insurance from their employers dropped from 65 percent in 2001 to 61 percent in 2004, according to a national survey from the Menlo Park, Calif.-based Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust in Chicago.

Cumberland County-based Highmark Blue Shield also foresees more demand or insurance plans aimed at individuals, said Michael Fiaschetti, the insurer’s senior vice president for the Mid-Atlantic region. The East Pennsboro Township company offers individual plans that do not use medical underwriting. go to web site highmark blue shield

In January, Highmark Blue Shield will add plans with medical underwriting to make its coverage more affordable for healthy people.

Geisinger Health Plan in Danville, Montour County, also continues to see steady interest in its products for individuals, said spokeswoman Lisa Hartman.

“There are a lot of people looking for coverage,” she said. “…From our perspective, there’s definite demand out there.” HealthAmerica’s products for individuals will be offered throughout the insurer’s service area in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The company’s goal is to have at least 20,000 members in the plans within three years, Soistman said.

Whether the number will go higher depends on whether more employers drop health-insurance coverage or replace it with stipends workers can use to purchase insurance on their own, Soistman said.

“There are a lot of variables that we can’t predict,” he said.

Olenchek, Christina


  1. Lefty -  October 9, 2010 - 12:32 pm

    Wishing everyone a wonderful Weekend!! What an awesome article!!

  2. Lefty -  October 9, 2010 - 12:26 pm

    Very interesting… Just curious to how know if a major event will happen on 12/2012

  3. David E. -  October 7, 2010 - 4:23 pm


    It’s < and > as opposed to [ and ]

  4. David E. -  October 7, 2010 - 4:22 pm

    Oops – that’s “”

  5. David E. -  October 7, 2010 - 4:22 pm

    @mark V:

    HTML – use instead of []

  6. Guest -  October 7, 2010 - 10:02 am

    Agreed. Denied.

  7. mark V -  October 7, 2010 - 9:18 am

    In related news, i dont know how to code in these comments.

  8. mark V -  October 7, 2010 - 9:17 am

    myth  –noun
    1. a traditional or [b]legend[/b]ary [b]story[/b], usually concerning some being or hero or event, [b]with or without[/b] a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, esp. one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature.


  9. ms.karma -  October 6, 2010 - 7:28 pm


  10. David E. -  October 6, 2010 - 12:07 pm

    The word has long been associated with the myth of the deluge, an idea that occurs in diverse cultures that flood and destruction envelop the planet as divine punishment for earthly misdeeds. Noah, his ark, and the Biblical flood are probably the most familiar example.

    It would be a lot nicer if you used the word legend or even story instead. Leave the anti-theism to Hitchens, Dawkins, & Co. Don’t say with finality that it didn’t happen.

  11. KStil -  October 6, 2010 - 5:05 am

    Seriously…how on earth does everyone search the same thing on the same day? How can these trends pop up, and I…well, don’t understand how everyone else knows about them! >.<

  12. Randy -  October 5, 2010 - 1:42 pm

    I wish I could actually get up out of my chair so that I could tell my mother about this. Standing has become such a chore recently. Oh well, guess I’ll play some more WoW.

  13. mark V -  October 5, 2010 - 12:18 pm

    The authenticity of the Noah Flood was not challenged in this article, nor should it be further dabated in comments.

    It says something interesting about you personally, that you immediatly jump to a defensive stance, though.

  14. Friday -  October 5, 2010 - 11:38 am

    Noah and the ark were true that really happened read Genesis six versus nine to something a few chapters away.

  15. John -  October 5, 2010 - 10:58 am

    What’s with these dead links of yours? You highlight a word to indicate a hyperlink to, presumably, further explanation or definition of the word, but I’ve hit two in the last couple of weeks that led to a dead end with your server chiding ME for spelling it wrong. :-(

  16. CATACLYSM | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  October 5, 2010 - 10:56 am

    [...] studied “CATACLYSM” for twelve long years with Holy Cross Nuns, Franciscan Friars, Parish Priests and Xavierian [...]

  17. Guest -  October 5, 2010 - 10:45 am

    The release date for the World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm, was officially announced yesterday. 12/7/10.

  18. mark V -  October 5, 2010 - 10:38 am

    Zombie apocalypse, Time Paradoxes, ancient unpronouncable horrors from the depths of the earth and now Planetary sundering, are just a few of the assuredly unlikely scenarios that you are totally going to thank us geeks for preparing for ahead of time. =D

  19. Nathan -  October 5, 2010 - 10:01 am

    The story about Noah and the Ark may actually be real. In almost every ancient culture, there is a story of a great flood. I don’t believe in mass coincidences.

    Also I loved this post. Wish they would’ve mentioned more events of doom though.

  20. Erika -  October 5, 2010 - 9:47 am

    Dictionary.com, you rock.
    Thanks for this entry – as a WoW fan, I’m happy you’re acknowledging the many “geeks” and “nerds” that make up your readership!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked (required):

Related articles

Back to Top