From Encyclopædia Acephalica:
“DEBACLE. – The phenomena of nature are a vast alphabet of symbols upon which we draw to forge many of our expressions. Who is not aware of the coup de foudre [love at first sight], the déjeuner de soleil [flash in the pan], the “brainstorm,” and the “avalanche of compliments”? Worn-out as most of these images may be, there is none the less one which remains moving, because of its brutal and implacable concision, a word quite precisely “thrown together” [bâcle], with that very haste which characterises disasters – I mean the word débâcle.
Employed regarding the war of 1870 by Zola, in a work which bears it as its title, and popularised above all to designate collapses in monetary value and financial crashes, this expression is still today very powerful, all the more powerful, indeed, since, given present circumstances, it could pass as prophetic.”