com·​mo·​tion | \ kə-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce commotion (audio) \

Definition of commotion

1 : a condition of civil unrest or insurrection The commotion was finally brought to an end and peace was restored.
2 : steady or recurrent motion the commotion of the surf
3 : mental excitement or confusion … startled … into no ordinary state of commotion.— Arnold Bennett
4a : an agitated disturbance : to-do the commotion caused by the president's visit
b : noisy confusion : agitation The commotion backstage had brought the play to a stop.

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Examples of commotion in a Sentence

There was a sudden commotion when the actress entered the restaurant. the commotion created when the nation's top rock band arrived in town

Recent Examples on the Web

Eric Roboch, a baker living nearby, noticed a commotion. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "‘We Don’t Need Alligators in Pittsburgh’: Spate of Reptile Escapes Confounds Police," 19 June 2019 Other neighbors described their confusion after hearing a commotion Sunday night and seeing flashing lights. Megan Cassidy,, "Man kills four people in San Jose before turning the gun on himself," 24 June 2019 The arrest affidavit says that shortly before the shooting on June 15, a person in the building reported hearing a commotion in Chang’s apartment and saw the female victim throwing clothing into the hallway. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, "Police say killing in Capitol Hill apartment was result of feud between acquaintances," 20 June 2019 In the background, her father seemed confused over all the commotion —and even poked fun at her jumping up and down in the kitchen. Jason Duaine Hahn,, "High School Senior Has the Best Reaction After Opening Her College Acceptance Letter," 4 Apr. 2018 But for all the commotion surrounding the Oscars and the uncertainty in the best picture category, most of the other top prizes appear to be foregone conclusions. NBC News, "Oscars dilemma: Shine a spotlight on #MeToo or stick to the movies?," 4 Mar. 2018 Hammer also fought on that card and made her way into the ring after Shields’ fight, leading to a bit of a commotion. Noah Trister, The Seattle Times, "Hammer vs Shields: Women’s blockbuster fight is on," 25 Sep. 2018 While Socorro and Miguel waited in their plastic chairs for the next call from the smuggler, the Casa del Migrante was full of commotion. Kevin Sieff, Washington Post, "As border crossings surge, a Mexican couple tests Trump’s policies," 21 June 2018 With little of the commotion expected in a middle school classroom, kids grab laptops from a cart in the corner, power up, and begin a comprehension program called ReadTheory. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "Inside a 'D' school: An Arizona junior high grapples with its state letter grade," 22 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commotion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of commotion

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for commotion

Middle English, from Anglo-French commocion, from Latin commotion-, commotio, from commovēre — see commove

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Statistics for commotion

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for commotion

The first known use of commotion was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for commotion



English Language Learners Definition of commotion

: noisy excitement and confusion


com·​mo·​tion | \ kə-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce commotion (audio) \

Kids Definition of commotion

: noisy excitement and confusion : turmoil

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Comments on commotion

What made you want to look up commotion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to complain fretfully

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