tu·​mul·​tu·​ous | \ tu̇-ˈməl-chə-wəs How to pronounce tumultuous (audio) , tyu̇-, tə-, -chəs; -ˈməlch-wəs\

Definition of tumultuous

1 : marked by tumult : loud, excited, and emotional tumultuous applause
2 : tending or disposed to cause or incite a tumult the laws … were violated by a tumultuous faction— Edward Gibbon
3 : marked by violent or overwhelming turbulence or upheaval tumultuous passions

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Other Words from tumultuous

tumultuously adverb
tumultuousness noun

Examples of tumultuous in a Sentence

For someone with such a tumultuous inner world, the muscular choice-is-all school of moral philosophy could not be satisfactory. — Martha C. Nussbaum, New Republic, 31 Dec. 2001 The tumultuous sensual undercurrent of the Orient had, like water in the desert, gone underground and though perhaps it bubbled up behind courtyard walls, in public places it kept out of sight. — Leila Hadley, Give Me the World, (1958) 1999 The teams walked onto the field to tumultuous applause. — J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 1999 We were not accustomed to loran, and to pick up a buoy, as I now did with my binoculars, after thirty days of tumultuous seas, at precisely the time and angle that our charted position led us to anticipate, struck me as nothing short of miraculous. — Louis Auchincloss, "Atlantic War," in Authors at Sea, Robert Shenk, ed.1997 The returning astronauts were given a tumultuous welcome. The room filled with tumultuous applause.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But last September was tumultuous for Smith and Winfield. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Gophers football boosted by returns of Rodney Smith and Antoine Winfield," 23 Aug. 2019 But for studios not named Disney, at least at this point, the summer season's turned out to be especially tumultuous in terms of family programming. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "Has Disney Cornered the Family Film Market as Rivals Hit Summer Slumps?," 15 Aug. 2019 Boston’s season was certainly tumultuous, but Irving’s shotmaking kept the Celtics afloat. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Why We Shouldn't Underestimate Kyrie and the Nets This Year," 5 Aug. 2019 In Britain an election in 2017 stripped the ruling Conservatives of their majority and their subsequent period in office has been tumultuous. The Economist, "Are Western democracies becoming ungovernable?," 1 Aug. 2019 With no end in sight for internal discord, the next election cycle looks to be tumultuous within the Clermont County Republican party. Sheila Vilvens, Cincinnati.com, "Trouble in Trump land: In one red Ohio county, the Republican party finds itself torn apart," 6 Apr. 2018 Boca Raton lost star quarterback Michael Pratt to a transfer to Deerfield, and Spanish River had a tumultuous offseason. Adam Lichtenstein, sun-sentinel.com, "Projecting how Broward teams will fare this season -- district-by-district for Classes 8A-5A; by region for 4A-1A," 23 Aug. 2019 Unlike Macy’s, which, like all department stores, faces tumultuous changes in how and how much people shop, Home Depot is doing brisk business. Washington Post, "Execs starting to worry about tariffs’ effects on consumers," 20 Aug. 2019 Keep your children, disabled adults, and pets safe during tumultuous heat waves. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "Excessive heat warning: How hot does it feel? Heat index, safety tips," 13 Aug. 2019

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

circa 1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tumultuous

see tumult

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Statistics for tumultuous

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for tumultuous

The first known use of tumultuous was circa 1548

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More Definitions for tumultuous



English Language Learners Definition of tumultuous

: loud, excited, and emotional
: involving a lot of violence, confusion, or disorder


tu·​mul·​tu·​ous | \ tu̇-ˈməl-chə-wəs How to pronounce tumultuous (audio) , tyu̇-\

Kids Definition of tumultuous

: characterized by uproar a tumultuous welcome

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Comments on tumultuous

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


to make a temporary encampment

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