tem·​pes·​tu·​ous | \ tem-ˈpes-chə-wəs How to pronounce tempestuous (audio) , -ˈpesh- \

Definition of tempestuous

: of, relating to, or resembling a tempest : turbulent, stormy tempestuous weather a tempestuous relationship

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Other Words from tempestuous

tempestuously adverb
tempestuousness noun

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Time is sometimes marked in seasons, and seasons are associated with the weather. This explains how "tempus," the Latin word for "time" could have given rise to an English adjective for things turbulent and stormy. "Tempus" is the root behind Old Latin tempestus, meaning "season," and Late Latin tempestuosus, the direct ancestor of "tempestuous." As you might expect, "tempus" is also the root of the noun "tempest"; it probably played a role in the history of "temper" as well, but that connection isn't definite.

Examples of tempestuous in a Sentence

order was restored to the court after the judge put a stop to the defendant's tempestuous outburst in terms of social change, the 1960s are generally considered the most tempestuous decade in recent American history
Recent Examples on the Web Few luxury automakers have had as tempestuous a history as Aston Martin, which has seemingly been at death’s door financially more than once, yet somehow pulls through and continues its legacy of exclusive high-performance automobiles. Viju Mathew, Robb Report, 15 July 2021 Alex is attached at the hip to people more powerful and more tempestuous than he, as Ed was to Finn. Roxana Hadadi, Vulture, 14 June 2021 Millions worshipped the Narmada as a tempestuous but bountiful goddess—so pristine that the Ganga is believed to visit her every year to wash away her sins. Ashish Kothari, Scientific American, 20 May 2021 Even so, the negotiations are certain to be complex and politically tempestuous. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2021 The morning of Enzo’s burial, January 20th, was muggy and tempestuous, midway through New Caledonia’s rainy season. Meg Bernhard, The New Yorker, 11 Apr. 2021 Ennen is a charismatic and tempestuous executive who finagles and cajoles CHWC into making a three-percent profit — just enough so that a corporate hospital chain based in nearby Toledo or Fort Wayne, Indiana, won’t swallow it up. Stephen Rodrick, Rolling Stone, 30 Mar. 2021 Sacred end-of-life rituals and inevitable comedy are interwoven, as the reader attends, over time, the funerals of four of the five Swarts, and comes to know the rich and tempestuous roil of life that precedes their deaths. Claire Messud, Harper's Magazine, 16 Mar. 2021 The Isles of Scilly have always needed protection -- not just from enemies but also from the tempestuous seas which surround them. Kate Eshelby, CNN, 14 June 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tempestuous

Middle English tempestuous, Latinization of tempestous, borrowed from Anglo-French, re-formation of Late Latin tempestuōsus, from tempestu-, probably extracted from Latin tempestūt-, tempestūs, archaic variant of tempestāt-, tempestās "stretch of time, season, weather, tempest entry 1" + -ōsus -ous

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The first known use of tempestuous was in the 15th century

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Tempe, Vale of

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Last Updated

26 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tempestuous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tempestuous. Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for tempestuous



English Language Learners Definition of tempestuous

literary : affected by a tempest
: full of strong emotions (such as anger or excitement)


tem·​pes·​tu·​ous | \ tem-ˈpes-chə-wəs How to pronounce tempestuous (audio) \

Kids Definition of tempestuous

: very stormy

More from Merriam-Webster on tempestuous

Nglish: Translation of tempestuous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tempestuous for Arabic Speakers


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