disturb

verb
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 disturb (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 Use a fork to flip the steaks, rather than tongs, which can disturb the crust. Jessica Battilana, San Francisco Chronicle, "This juicy, zesty pan-seared steak could be your go-to Mother's Day recipe," 7 May 2021 The permit can be used only for pipeline crossings that disturb a half-acre or less of steams or wetlands. Matthew Brown, Star Tribune, "Groups sue over US program allowing pipelines on wetlands," 4 May 2021 Wild boars rooting around and tearing up the soil might disturb or otherwise damage the toadlet’s habitat, not to mention the understory homes of as-yet-undescribed species in the area. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, "Biologists Discover New Species of Glowing Pumpkin Toadlet," 28 Apr. 2021 There are concerns that radiation from LED lighting can cause retina damage and that the lighting can disturb people’s sleep patterns. cleveland, "Richmond Heights Council approves Belle Oaks lot split while waiting for mall sale to conclude," 28 Apr. 2021 Allegra and Laura work to keep Ava at an equilibrium, free of stressors or any interaction that might disturb her well-being and mental health. Jennifer Wilson, The New Republic, "Helen Oyeyemi’s Impossible Places," 28 Apr. 2021 Sadly, this kind of violence is familiar to Latino communities -- and that should disturb all Americans. Raul A. Reyes, CNN, "What we know so far about Adam Toledo's death is unacceptable," 19 Apr. 2021 Americans would supposedly never disturb their lives there. Alaina E. Roberts, Time, "My Ancestors Were Enslaved—But Their Freedom Came at a Price for Others," 14 Apr. 2021 Only step on rocks and don’t disturb any creatures. oregonlive, "When will super low tides happen on the Oregon coast in 2021?," 26 Apr. 2021

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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Learn More about disturb

Time Traveler for disturb

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for disturb

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disturb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disturb. Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for disturb

disturb

verb

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)

disturb

verb
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

disturb

transitive verb
dis·​turb

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

Comments on disturb

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