1 of 2


tem·​pest ˈtem-pəst How to pronounce tempest (audio)
: a violent storm


2 of 2


tempested; tempesting; tempests

transitive verb

: to raise a tempest in or around

Examples of tempest in a Sentence

Noun 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
So when fate places all his old enemies within his reach, tempests (both literal and metaphorical) stir. David Catlin, The Enquirer, 6 Mar. 2024 There also should be extreme weather surrounding the event like tempests, tornadoes, vortexes and lava. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 These rhetorical tempests echoed those that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago, when Francis was accused of equivocation for his initial refusal to name Russia as the aggressor in the war. Paul Elie, The New Yorker, 26 Feb. 2024 The storms illustrated Mother Nature’s power and volatility, as sunny blue skies and record-warm temperatures in the low 70s quickly gave way to tempests that downed trees and power lines and damaged homes, businesses and automobiles. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 28 Feb. 2024 Scientists have found that climate change is making furious tempests like Freddy more common. Lynsey Chutel, New York Times, 9 Mar. 2023 And Barrino’s next decade had its share of tempests. Angelique Jackson, Variety, 14 Nov. 2023 For this Lear, there was no raging against a tempest on a heath. Louis Bayard, Washington Post, 25 May 2023 Social media tempests are largely for the teapot-dwellers. Hazlitt, 1 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tempest.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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."

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near tempest

Cite this Entry

“Tempest.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tempest. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a violent wind
especially : one accompanied by rain, hail, or snow
: a violent commotion : uproar

More from Merriam-Webster on tempest

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!