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

Definition of tempest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a violent storm


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

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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: Noun The threat of the coronavirus hit the economy like a tempest out of nowhere. Laurent Belsie, The Christian Science Monitor, "Faces of the new jobs crisis, from restaurants to real estate," 1 Apr. 2020 Day 36: New idea: rightful duke of Milan usurped by younger brother, cast out to sea with infant daughter to drown, shipwrecked on magical island, harnesses spirits of earth and air, summons tempest to wreak vengeance on brother. Daniel Pollack-pelzner, The New Yorker, "What Shakespeare Actually Did During the Plague," 1 Apr. 2020 This tempest involves a charge new to the annals of great power competition: that Western brands have been subverting China’s sovereignty by means of overpriced T-shirts. The Economist, "China’s thin-skinned online nationalists want to be both loved and feared by the West," 22 Aug. 2019 Here there are giant trees that have weathered storms, but there are downed trees that succumbed to some past tempest, some rage of wind long gone but nonetheless still eerily present. The Editors, Field & Stream, "The Outdoorsman’s Guide to Social Distancing," 18 Mar. 2020 The twisting tempests whipped through seven counties. Travis Dorman, USA TODAY, "'Worship in the rubble': Tennessee tornado ruined churches, but Sunday service went on," 10 Mar. 2020 At the height of the terrestrial tempest, the solar storm knocked out local emergency channels for about eight hours. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "These close-up photos of the sun could help us forecast space weather," 31 Jan. 2020 If all this research seems like a tempest in a teacup (or a dust-up in a demi-tasse?) well, coffee is a high-stakes game. Adam Rogers, Wired, "The Science Behind Crafting a Perfect Espresso," 22 Jan. 2020 Hurricane Maria’s emergency declaration came the same day the tempest swept the island two years ago. Washington Post, "Puerto Ricans still waiting on disaster funds as Hurricane Maria’s aftermath, earthquakes continue to affect life on the island," 19 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for tempest

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tempest

Cite this Entry

“Tempest.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tempest. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for tempest


How to pronounce tempest (audio)

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

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