Act of god

a direct, sudden, and irresistible action of natural forces such as could not reasonably have been foreseen or prevented, as a flood, hurricane, earthquake, or other natural catastrophe.
(law) a sudden and inevitable occurrence caused by natural forces and not by the agency of man, such as a flood, earthquake, or a similar catastrophe

An event beyond human control — e.g., hurricane, earthquake, volcanic eruption (see volcano), etc. — for which there is no legal redress. The phrase is frequently used by insurance companies and lawyers.

A natural catastrophe, e.g., a hurricane, an earthquake, or a volcanic eruption. (See volcano.)

Note: As a legal term relating to property damage, it appears in insurance contracts: “After the flood, Papovich was dismayed to discover that his house was not insured against acts of God.”

Note: In contracts dealing with the delivery of goods or services, the term is used to protect the parties from litigation over delays or failures in performance owing to circumstances beyond their control.

An unforeseen and uncontrollable natural event, such as a hurricane, fire, or flood. For example, The publisher shall publish the work within twelve months except in case of delay caused by acts of God such as fires or floods or other circumstances beyond its control. It most often appears in legal contracts, where it is used to indemnify one party against a disaster that prevents it from carrying out the contract’s terms. [ Mid-1800s ]


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