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Calamity or disaster

Help on English vocab, including idioms, slang and sayings

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Calamity or disaster

Postby murli » Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:30 am

Dear Mr. Josef,

Good everning. This is Murli, from India.

One of my uncles told me sometime back that there is a humorous true story with regard to the subject matter in England, involving the great Disraeili (sorry, if spelt wrongly), explaining the difference between calamity and disaster in the House of Commons.

Would be greatful if you could re-tell the event to me and, of course, our englishclub learners / teachers.

Awaiting your reply.

Murli

Postscript: I would be further grateful if you could bring out such stories / events, to us.
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Re: Calamity or disaster

Postby Josef » Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:34 am

This is neither idiom nor saying. It may be wit, humour or a joke, depending on your viewpoint:

Benjamin Disraeli was a British Tory Prime Minister in Victorian times. Someone asked him what the difference was between a disaster and a calamity. He used the leader of the Liberal opposition party, William Gladstone, as an example. He said that a disaster would be if Gladstone fell into the River Thames; and a calamity would be if someone pulled him out.

Dictionary definitions:
disaster: a sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, that causes great damage or loss of life
calamity: an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster
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