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I am looking for a noun which describes some sort of apocalyptic or world-ending event, but does not have the religious baggage of words like apocalypse.

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Catastrophe? Cataclysm? Apocalypse does not necessarily have religious connotations. –  American Luke Sep 26 '12 at 23:17
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@luke OK on the first two, but beg to differ on apocalypse. It comes from Greek for revelation and refers to a biblical text. See this source –  bib Sep 26 '12 at 23:54
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Fifth definition. I see where you're coming from, but it is not necessarily religious. –  American Luke Sep 27 '12 at 0:33
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@luke While the word may often be used without intending a religious connotation, OP is trying to avoid the religious baggage that some readers may bring to the term. –  bib Sep 27 '12 at 0:54
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If there is ever a time for people to "get religion" it will be when the world is about to end. –  Jim Sep 27 '12 at 4:57
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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted
  • devastation
  • cataclysm
  • annihilation
  • holocaust
  • obliteration
  • calamity
  • ruin
  • extinction
  • catastrophe
  • disaster
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Is that all? +1 –  bib Sep 26 '12 at 23:49
    
Looks like a thesaurus entry. –  American Luke Sep 27 '12 at 0:34
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@luke As it should. –  bib Sep 27 '12 at 0:55
    
@tchrist And perhaps we should add bang and whimper! –  bib Sep 27 '12 at 1:07
    
"The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief", (oh, wait, that does have a religious connotation, nvm). –  Xantix Sep 27 '12 at 1:27
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TEOTWAWKI - the end of the world as we know it

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The singularity. The event horizon.

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The traditional "sciencespeak" for this is "Extinction scale event".

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