dis·​tur·​bance | \ di-ˈstər-bən(t)s How to pronounce disturbance (audio) \

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

There had been rumors that there was going to be a protest, and police in balaclavas wandered about, watching for any sign of disturbance. Nicolas Niarchos, The New Yorker, "On a Greek Island That Welcomed Migrants, Residents and Refugees Feel Abandoned," 13 June 2019 Officers were called to the building in response to reports of a disturbance caused by a man with a knife. Fox News, "Portland police shoot man with knife in downtown building," 10 June 2019 Officers responded just before 10 a.m. to a report of a disturbance involving a man with a knife and an explosive device, Portland Police spokeswoman Lt. oregonlive.com, "Portland police fatally shoot man in Pearl District confrontation," 9 June 2019 While the storms may move out, the rainy pattern will stay in place through the weekend, thanks to a slow-moving area of low pressure combined with moisture-rich air moving northward off the Gulf and the remnants of a tropical disturbance. Leigh Morgan, al.com, "Heavy rain possible across Alabama today. And tomorrow. And the weekend.," 6 June 2019 The disturbance is currently disorganized, but it's expected to move toward the northeastern coast of Mexico later today. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Tropical disturbance expected to bring heavy rain to Houston starting tonight," 4 June 2019 The hurricane center said an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the disturbance this afternoon — if necessary. Leigh Morgan, al.com, "Still a medium chance for tropical depression to form in the Gulf this week," 3 June 2019 Although disorganized, the tropical disturbance has a 40 percent chance of formation in the next 48 hours, National Hurricane Center meteorologists said in their 8 a.m. advisory. Stephen Ruiz, orlandosentinel.com, "Tropical disturbance expected to make landfall in Mexico today, hurricane center says," 3 June 2019 At least 17 others who had been arrested for apparently participating in anti-government protests were wounded in the prison disturbance. Gabriela Selser, The Seattle Times, "US-Nicaraguan man killed in detention served in US Navy," 18 May 2019

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

21 Jun 2019

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 How to pronounce disturbance (audio) \

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 How to pronounce disturbance (audio) \

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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