Perfect Storm

Most Important Level 4

"to be a perfect storm" / "to be like a perfect storm"

Meaning: a rare occurrence or combination of certain events, circumstances, or factors that create an extremely bad situation; a really bad situation caused by the combination of many things

Why does it mean that?

There are certain factors that are needed to create a storm. Certain factors determine how big and strong a storm will be. When all of these things happen in a certain way, a giant or super storm can form.

When do we use it?

We can use "a perfect storm" in a literal way. We can use it to talk about a real storm that is huge and very powerful because all of the conditions to form a storm were exactly right.

We also use this as an expression to describe a very bad situation. When many bad things or events happen at the same time and they create one giant terrible situation, then we can use this expression.

How do we use it?

We use this idiom as a part of a sentence. It usually comes after a "be verb" or "be verb + like".
  • This is a perfect storm.
  • This is like a perfect storm.
  • This problem is a perfect storm. I don't know what to do.
  • I got fired. My girlfriend left me. And my dog died. It was like a perfect storm.
  • Everything went wrong. It was a perfect storm.
Example English Conversation

A) Why did the president resign? I don't really follow politics or the news.
B) The president was forced to resign among a perfect storm of corruption allegations, collapsing economy, and criticism of his handling of many different issues.
A) Wow! I guess there were just too many problems for him to handle.
B) A politician can usually handle one or two scandals or issues at one time, but if many things happen at one time, then sometimes there is too much pressure for them to quit.
A) Like a perfect storm.

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