dis·​tur·​bance | \di-ˈstər-bən(t)s \

Definition of disturbance 

1 : the act of disturbing : the state of being disturbed apologized for creating a disturbance

2 : a local variation from the average or normal wind conditions

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Examples of disturbance in a Sentence

She doesn't want any more disturbances while she is studying. He reacts badly to disturbance of his daily routine. Fish are able to detect even slight disturbances in the water. Disturbance of the river's sediment causes cloudy water. Neighbors called the police to report a disturbance. They were arrested for creating a disturbance. The violence that soldiers experience in war can lead to emotional disturbance in later years.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Put another way, in regions far away from solid objects or other disturbances, the flow is likely to vary slowly in both space and time. Lee Phillips, Ars Technica, "Turbulence, the oldest unsolved problem in physics," 10 Oct. 2018 Signs of real depression include sleep disturbances, appetite or weight changes, and a general disconnectedness. Colleen Leahey Mckeegan, Marie Claire, "How to Stay Sane While Struggling to Get Pregnant," 1 Oct. 2018 That pain can also come with a side of nausea, vomiting, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and aura (sensory disturbances). Korin Miller, SELF, "Is It True That the Weather Can Cause a Migraine?," 3 Aug. 2018 Sheri Lee Taylor, 33, of Milwaukee was arrested and issued a municipal citation for disorderly conduct after she was found intoxicated and causing a disturbance. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "12-year-old punches mom in the forehead for regularly getting drunk; mother allegedly bites him," 27 June 2018 Sanders and her party caused no disturbance at the Red Hen. Hilary Weaver, Vanities, "“She’s Stuck in a Really Tough Position”: Etiquette Experts on the Red Hen Controversy," 26 June 2018 Before fighting with White, Mosley was thrown out of the nearby Marriott Hotel for causing a disturbance, police said. Max Londberg, kansascity, "'Will he get justice?' Dad of man killed downtown by KC police calls for body cameras," 21 June 2018 According to a Gurnee police statement released Saturday, officers responded to a report of a large group causing a disturbance and discovered a fight between two girls. Frank Abderholden, Lake County News-Sun, "Great America says safety is 'highest priority' after police respond to fight," 18 June 2018 Disorderly conduct, Pearl Road: On April 27, police were dispatched to a gas station regarding a Parma Heights man causing a disturbance by yelling at customers. John Benson, cleveland.com, "Apartment resident reports thief took items from storage locker: Parma Police Blotter," 10 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disturbance.' 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 disturbance

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for disturbance

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for disturbance

The first known use of disturbance was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for disturbance



English Language Learners Definition of disturbance

: something that stops you from working, sleeping, etc. : the act of disturbing someone or something

: a change in the position, arrangement, or order of something

: violent or noisy behavior especially in public


dis·​tur·​bance | \di-ˈstər-bəns \

Kids Definition of disturbance

1 : the act of interrupting, changing the arrangement of, or upsetting : the state of being interrupted, changed in arrangement, or upset Fish can feel any disturbances in the water.

2 : disorder entry 2 sense 2, commotion I reported a disturbance to the police.


dis·​tur·​bance | \dis-ˈtər-bən(t)s \

Medical Definition of disturbance 

: the state of being emotionally disturbed

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Legal Definition of disturbance 

: an interruption of peace or order specifically : an interruption of the quiet enjoyment of one's property

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Comments on disturbance

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a knickknack or trinket

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