tur·​bu·​lence | \ ˈtər-byə-lən(t)s How to pronounce turbulence (audio) \

Definition of turbulence

: the quality or state of being turbulent: such as
a : great commotion or agitation emotional turbulence
b : irregular atmospheric motion especially when characterized by up-and-down currents
c : departure in a fluid from a smooth flow

Examples of turbulence in a Sentence

The plane hit quite a bit of turbulence during our flight. A period of turbulence preceded the riots.

Recent Examples on the Web

The June edition was staged in a rowhouse in Columbia Heights, where, about 2 a.m., TrillaKay was spinning polychromatic Rico Nasty tunes while the venturesome rap duo Model Home was gearing up for a set of improvised turbulence. 4 p.m. $9-$10. Washington Post, "17 things to do in the D.C. area this week," 1 July 2019 The discovery of Rodriguez’s body brings the death toll in state waterways up to six this year, with heavy snowmelt increasing the depth and turbulence of rivers and making them more dangerous. Carina Julig, The Denver Post, "Body of woman who fell into Rio Grande River found after 10 days," 25 June 2019 Take the story one reporter wrote recently about flying amid terrible turbulence. The Christian Science Monitor, "A global moment for the #MeToo movement," 19 June 2019 In a separate sign of possible turbulence for Mr. Biden’s candidacy, his campaign experienced the first departure of a prominent political consultant. Katie Glueck, New York Times, "Joe Biden and Democratic Rivals Exchange Attacks Over His Remarks on Segregationists," 19 June 2019 As part of its mission, the autonomous submarine navigated for three days through 112 miles (180 kilometers) of underwater mountains and valleys, collecting data on water temperature, salinity, and deep-sea water turbulence. Chase Purdy, Quartz, "Boaty McBoatface is redefining how we understand the impact of climate change," 19 June 2019 Passengers were left bracing for the worst as powerful turbulence threw a flight attendant into their plane’s roof on Sunday. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, "Violent Turbulence Sends Flight Attendant Crashing Into a Plane's Ceiling in Terrifying Video," 18 June 2019 Amid this turbulence, dozens of workers in the gaming business are calling for the industry to unionize. Time, "Video Game Creators Are Burned Out and Desperate for Change," 11 June 2019 On the physical side, turbulence happens when a smooth fluid flow starts to split into smaller eddies and vortices. Quanta Magazine, "The Trouble With Turbulence," 28 Jan. 2019

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

1595, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for turbulence

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for turbulence

The first known use of turbulence was in 1595

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More Definitions for turbulence



English Language Learners Definition of turbulence

: sudden, violent movements of air or water
: a state of confusion, violence, or disorder


tur·​bu·​lence | \ ˈtər-byə-ləns How to pronounce turbulence (audio) \

Kids Definition of turbulence

: irregular movements of air currents The ride got rough when the plane hit turbulence.

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Comments on turbulence

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


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