tem·​pes·​tu·​ous | \ tem-ˈpes-chə-wəs, -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

Did You Know?

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

Mills billed herself as a major departure from the tempestuous LePage, who has led efforts to block Medicaid expansion in the state even after voters approved the move in a ballot initiative. Li Zhou, Vox, "Janet Mills becomes Maine’s first woman governor," 7 Nov. 2018 Of the Europeans, Churchill’s most consequential and tempestuous relationship was with a man who initially offered only himself: Charles de Gaulle, the sole French official to resist his government’s capitulation to Germany. Lynne Olson, WSJ, "Five Best: Lynne Olson on Britain’s European Allies," 6 Sep. 2018 However, teenage Astrid was very impressionable, impetuous, and tempestuous. Aja Romano, Vox, "Crazy Rich Asians’ mid-credits scene is brief, but very revealing," 18 Aug. 2018 Young and tempestuous, the rapper seemed to sense that his time among the living would be short. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "How Will XXXTentacion Be Remembered?," 19 June 2018 In truth, the song’s afterglow eases the farcical ordeal of Charity hiding out in Vittorio’s closet after his tempestuous inamorata, Ursula (Ashley Loren), storms the apartment. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "'Sweet Charity' from Reprise: The dancing never gets old, but the book could use a nip and tuck," 23 June 2018 Their tempestuous relationship was central to many of the soap’s most dramatic plots. Jill Lawless, Washington Post, "Leslie Grantham, ‘lovable rogue’ on British TV’s ‘EastEnders,’ dies at 71," 16 June 2018 Still others, like chief of staff John Kelly, are going to the gym in the middle of the day and generally doing their best to survive in this tempestuous working environment. Evan Horowitz, BostonGlobe.com, "Families will be kept together — in detention. What does Trump hope to gain?," 20 June 2018 Whatever direction the investigations take, there's no denying that Greenberg has brought a dose of Florida-style weirdness to the already tempestuous tale of Russian spookery and the 2016 election. David Smiley And Glenn Garvin, miamiherald, "Mystery Miamian tied to Trump probe had many names, foul mouth, 2 DUI busts," 19 June 2018

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, from Late Latin tempestuosus, from Old Latin tempestus season, weather, storm, from tempus

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Last Updated

23 Dec 2018

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

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More Definitions for tempestuous



English Language Learners Definition of tempestuous

: affected by a tempest

: full of strong emotions (such as anger or excitement)


tem·​pes·​tu·​ous | \ tem-ˈpes-chə-wəs \

Kids Definition of tempestuous

: very stormy

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Comments on tempestuous

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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