tem·​pest | \ ˈtem-pəst How to pronounce tempest (audio) \

Definition of tempest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a violent storm
2 : tumult, uproar


tempested; tempesting; tempests

Definition of tempest (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to raise a tempest in or around

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Synonyms for tempest

Synonyms: Noun

squall, storm

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Examples of tempest in a Sentence


the sudden summertime tempest drove us off the golf course and into the clubhouse the town council handled the tempest over cuts to the school budget as well as could be expected

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The tempest snapped trees and knocked out power, and even toppled a billboard onto vehicles. Meagan Flynn, Washington Post, "‘Completely decimated’: Crane topples into Dallas apartments, killing one," 10 June 2019 Calm seas alternate with tempests, and daylight scenes with melancholy nighttime ones. Willard Spiegelman, WSJ, "Sailing the Globe in a Gallery," 3 Aug. 2018 Embattled Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, the tempest in a teacup of the Trump White House, resigned on Wednesday, a move announced in a tweet from his boss. Vogue, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions Resigns; the Internet Reacts," 7 Nov. 2018 Yet lost in the resulting tempest is a crucial fact that appears to contradict this spin: Mr. Trump had to waive executive privilege for Mr. McGahn to cooperate with Mr. Mueller. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump Waives the Privilege," 19 Aug. 2018 But the same seas that brought the huddled masses and tempest-tost also buffeted the islands with brutal regularity. Kevin Conley, Town & Country, "Fluid Dynamics," 27 May 2014 The storm's historic rainfall brought an assault on the region's infrastructure and killed 44 people, but with the waters finally receding, an unexpected consequence of the tempest has revealed itself. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Hurricane Florence Leaves Thousands of Dead, Rotting Fish on Highway," 24 Sep. 2018 And watching with delight, cozied up in one of the old theater seats that dot the Globe’s outdoor Davies stage, is Kate Burton as Prospera, the sorcerer who has whipped up this tempest to shipwreck and bring rough justice to some old foes. James Hebert, sandiegouniontribune.com, "'Tempest' a satisfying whirl of wit and wizardry at Old Globe," 24 June 2018 But the arrests have caused a political tempest in Kosovo and have been criticized by human rights groups. Rick Gladstone, New York Times, "Turkish Secret Agents Seized 80 People in 18 Countries, Official Says," 5 Apr. 2018

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tempest


Middle English tempeste, borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Vulgar Latin *tempesta, replacing Latin tempestāt-, tempestās "stretch of time, period, season, weather, stormy weather," from tempes-, base of tempor-, tempus (alternative stem temper-) "time, period of time, season" + -tāt-, -tās, noun suffix — more at tempo

Note: The proto-Romance form *tempesta is probably a nominal derivative from the feminine of an adjective tempestus, cited by the Roman grammarian Sextus Pompeius Festus as an old variant of tempestīvus "in season, occurring at the proper time."

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Statistics for tempest

Last Updated

22 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tempest

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

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More Definitions for tempest



English Language Learners Definition of tempest

literary : a violent storm


tem·​pest | \ ˈtem-pəst How to pronounce tempest (audio) \

Kids Definition of tempest

1 : a strong wind often accompanied by rain, hail, or snow
2 : uproar

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More from Merriam-Webster on tempest

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tempest

Spanish Central: Translation of tempest

Nglish: Translation of tempest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tempest for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tempest

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


characterized by aphorism

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