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verb dis·turb \di-ˈstərb\

Simple Definition of disturb

  • : to stop (someone) from working, sleeping, etc. : to interrupt or bother (someone or something)

  • : to worry or upset (someone)

  • : to change the position, arrangement, or order of (something)

Full Definition of disturb

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to interfere with :  interrupt <disturbing the flow of traffic> b :  to alter the position or arrangement of <the items on her desk had been disturbed> c :  to upset the natural and especially the ecological balance or relations of <wetlands disturbed by development>

  3. 2 a :  to destroy the tranquillity or composure of <the noisy lawnmower disturbed their sleep> b :  to throw into disorder c :  alarm d :  to put to inconvenience <sorry to disturb you at such a late hour>

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to cause disturbance

dis·turb·er noun
dis·turb·ing·ly play \-ˈstər-biŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of disturb

  1. I'm sorry to disturb you at such a late hour.

  2. She doesn't want to be disturbed while she's working.

  3. Don't disturb the baby when he's sleeping.

  4. The noise disturbed my concentration.

Origin of disturb

Middle English disturben, destourben, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French destorber, from Latin disturbare, from dis- + turbare to throw into disorder, from turba disorder — more at turbid

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of disturb

discompose, disquiet, disturb, perturb, agitate, upset, fluster mean to destroy capacity for collected thought or decisive action. discompose implies some degree of loss of self-control or self-confidence especially through emotional stress <discomposed by the loss of his beloved wife>. disquiet suggests loss of sense of security or peace of mind <the disquieting news of factories closing>. disturb implies interference with one's mental processes caused by worry, perplexity, or interruption <the discrepancy in accounts disturbed me>. perturb implies deep disturbance of mind and emotions <perturbed by her husband's strange behavior>. agitate suggests obvious external signs of nervous or emotional excitement <in his agitated state we could see he was unable to work>. upset implies the disturbance of normal or habitual functioning by disappointment, distress, or grief <the family's constant bickering upsets the youngest child>. fluster suggests bewildered agitation <his declaration of love completely flustered her>.

Seen and Heard

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February 7, 2016

a slight offense

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