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

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

All that's missing now is a tempestuous English striker who joins Almiron on his journey from Newcastle to Real Madrid. SI.com, "Twitter Reacts as Real Madrid Recreate Plot of 'Goal!' With Pursuit of Newcastle's Miguel Almiron," 22 June 2019 The tempestuous weather here in Northern California calls for a versatile defense—and lately I’ve been reaching for this anorak, which uses a waterproof cotton originally designed to protect Royal Air Force pilots against wind and rain. Sunset Staff, Sunset, "Slather This Sauce, Peep These Petals, and 7 Other Things You Should See & Do This Memorial Day Weekend," 22 Jan. 2018 The affair, tempestuous and alcohol-fueled, didn’t last, but a friendship between the playwrights endured despite a bitter breakup. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "Review: PBS documentary of playwright Terrence McNally celebrates a master of connection," 13 June 2019 The impetus for her escape seems to have been the discovery that Martha Washington planned to give her, as a human wedding present, to her unkind and tempestuous granddaughter, Eliza. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Speaking Plainly About Slavery," 18 Jan. 2019 The relationship with her is tempestuous, and the more thrilling for it. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Pavarotti’s Joy of Living," 4 June 2019 Donaldson appears as a critical contemporaneous narrator of some of the most worrisome and tempestuous moments inside the West Wing. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "White House tells Hicks, ex-McGahn aide to ignore subpoenas," 4 June 2019 Anna’s is a quieter role, with fewer dramatic speeches but with a tempestuous subtext. Jason Zinoman, Vogue, "In Burn This, Adam Driver and Keri Russell Find Love in a Hopeless Place," 15 Apr. 2019 The two had as tempestuous a relationship as any in show business, which the series explores, with (hopefully) some fabulous dance sequences. Vogue, "9 Things to Watch in April on Netflix, HBO and More," 29 Mar. 2019

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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Statistics for tempestuous

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for tempestuous

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

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

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