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

Andrew McCabe was pulled into the center of the tempest on May 9, 2017 when he was summoned by the president hours after Comey was fired. Scott Pelley, CBS News, "Andrew McCabe: The full 60 Minutes interview," 17 Feb. 2019 Charming in person and intimidating and forceful by reputation, Mr Thiam walked straight into a tempest. The Economist, "Tidjane Thiam’s overhaul of Credit Suisse is paying off," 24 Aug. 2019 At Amazon, despite the tempest about Bezos joining the innovation board, Mattis and the CEO hit it off. James Bandler, ProPublica, "How Amazon and Silicon Valley Seduced the Pentagon," 22 Aug. 2019 Musk’s move, of course, stirred up a real social-media tempest. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "Is Elon Musk really ditching Twitter? 5 other notables who have deleted social media accounts," 17 June 2019 The storms are categorized by the strength of their winds, although the wind itself often isn't the deadliest part of the tempest. National Geographic, "Super Typhoon, Hurricane: What's the Difference?," 8 Aug. 2019 Republicans had created a media tempest over revelations that Warren had claimed to have Cherokee ancestry. Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker, "Can Elizabeth Warren Win It All?," 14 June 2019 Feared for their lashing winds, torrential rains, and inundating storm surges, hurricanes are potentially lethal tempests that can leave extensive damage. Claire Wolters, National Geographic, "Hurricane safety tips, explained," 11 July 2019 The Eye Is the First Circle, completed in 1960 and named after an Emerson quote, is a tempest that engulfs the viewer in chaotic, feathery strokes, a 16-foot-wide sweep of circular emotion. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Irrepressible Emotion of Lee Krasner," 13 June 2019

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

14 Sep 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).


concealment of treason or felony

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