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 Modern airlines are very tough and designed to withstand extreme turbulence. John Cox, USA TODAY, "Ask the Captain: Can severe turbulence tear the wing off a jetliner?," 26 June 2020 There’s a healthy heedlessness of absorption in him, a turbulence that spills out of the past and beyond the present. Matthew Bevis, Harper's Magazine, "Faintly Risible, Obscurely Resonant," 23 June 2020 Such occurrences are typically inadvertent when the herbicide moves on a breeze or via spray turbulence. oregonlive, "For help identifying flowery shoots popping up in the yard, ask an expert," 20 June 2020 For the latest study, Wang’s team used computer models to show that tiny droplets called aerosols, created by the turbulence of water sloshing inside a toilet bowl, could be ejected up to three feet into the air. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "In public toilets, flushing isn't the only COVID-19 risk," 19 June 2020 The tautness of the relationship, the turbulence of the relationship, is because these men actually love each other. Radhika Marya, Fortune, "Jonathan Majors on making Spike Lee’s ‘Da 5 Bloods’ and how it’s ‘popping off’ at the right time," 18 June 2020 Coronavirus fears are back, bringing an unwelcome return of the turbulence that rocked financial markets in March. Matt Egan, CNN, "Wall Street to Washington: Way more emergency aid is needed," 15 June 2020 Even as travel begins to take off, more turbulence is likely. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "How Europe’s low-cost airlines are surviving the pandemic without billion-dollar bailouts," 15 June 2020 Prayer, the leaders said, could be a powerful force against the turbulence of a nation gripped by grief, anger and weariness over a seemingly endless cycle of violence. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "Dallas Mayor Johnson cites widespread protest as reason for hope in fight against racial injustice," 6 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for turbulence

Time Traveler

The first known use of turbulence was in 1595

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Statistics for turbulence

Last Updated

29 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Turbulence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turbulence. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for turbulence


How to pronounce turbulence (audio)

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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