dis·​turb | \ di-ˈstərb How to pronounce disturb (audio) \
disturbed; disturbing; disturbs

Definition of disturb

transitive verb

1a : 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
2a : to destroy the tranquility or composure of The noisy lawnmower disturbed their sleep. was disturbed by his bizarre behavior
b : to throw into disorder disturbing our routine
c : alarm trying not to disturb the sleeping dogs
d : to put to inconvenience sorry to disturb you at such a late hour

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Other Words from disturb

disturber noun
disturbingly \ di-​ˈstər-​biŋ-​lē How to pronounce disturbingly (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of disturb in a Sentence

I'm sorry to disturb you at such a late hour. She doesn't want to be disturbed while she's working. Don't disturb the baby when he's sleeping. The noise disturbed my concentration.
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Recent Examples on the Web So when the film's recreation of that same image was projected over the dance floor in Berlin, with party music blasting and a bar serving free-flowing cocktails nearby, many attendees were disorientated, if not disturbed. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "Bizarre Johnny Depp Premiere Features Disease Victim Photos During Dance Party," 26 Feb. 2020 Plus, the base is split into two sections so your pita does not disturb your dip during any morning transportation. Sunset Magazine, "Your Meal Prep Master Plan for the New Year," 10 Jan. 2020 Business groups have urged lawmakers to tread carefully and not disturb the state's business-friendly image. NBC News, "Newly empowered Virginia Democrats promise 'action' on litany of issues," 8 Jan. 2020 Lauren Flannery squinted at her watch in the darkness, closed her laptop, let her shoes fall to the floor and set her feet on the table, careful not to disturb her pile of paperwork. Greg Borowski, jsonline.com, "The Christmas Boxes: A story about love and loss, mothers and daughters," 20 Dec. 2019 Save yourself a ton of effort and avoid disturbing the area by spiking out with a backpack camp for several days on a good vantage point. Jace Bauserman, Outdoor Life, "The 6 Best Do-it-Yourself Hunts in America," 18 Dec. 2019 Currently, no-till farming, or not disturbing soil through tillage, is gaining popularity, but that means herbicide use is sky rocketing. Rachael Lallensack, Smithsonian, "Five Roles Robots Will Play in the Future of Farming," 1 Oct. 2019 The windows will not disturb the beer garden mural. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New bar-restaurants Uncle Buck's and Red Star will take advantage of location next to Fiserv Forum beer garden," 9 July 2019 For some, AirPods aren’t the same blazing do not disturb sign as other kinds of headphones. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "The Case for Wearing AirPods All the Time," 5 June 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for 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

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Time Traveler for disturb

Time Traveler

The first known use of disturb was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries near disturb

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Last Updated

27 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disturb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disturb. Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for disturb


How to pronounce disturb (audio)

English Language Learners 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)


dis·​turb | \ di-ˈstərb How to pronounce disturb (audio) \
disturbed; disturbing

Kids Definition of disturb

1 : to interfere with : interrupt Don't disturb him while he's working.
2 : to change the position or arrangement of
3 : upset entry 1 sense 1, worry I am very disturbed by your behavior.
4 : to make confused or disordered disturb the peace

Legal Definition of disturb

1 : to destroy the tranquility or composure of
2 : to throw into disorder

intransitive verb

: to cause disturbance
disturb the peace
: to cause a disturbance

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More from Merriam-Webster on disturb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disturb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with disturb

Spanish Central: Translation of disturb

Nglish: Translation of disturb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disturb for Arabic Speakers

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