tur·​bu·​lence | \ ˈtər-byə-lən(t)s \

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 ongoing turbulence at Manchester United — more than five years after Alex Ferguson ended his long reign at Old Trafford — highlighted just how difficult a job Emery was taking on at Arsenal. Steve Douglas, The Seattle Times, "Life after Wenger looking rosy for Arsenal with Emery," 8 Oct. 2018 The app provides information about weather hazards like turbulence, lightning or hail that’s more accurate and easier to interpret than pilots used to be able to get after takeoff, said Tom Staigle, Delta’s chief technical pilot. Lauren Zumbach, chicagotribune.com, "From birthday wishes for passengers to tracking baggage handler injuries, airlines tap big data to try to improve operations," 12 July 2018 But while there would be less turbulence, more time would be needed to accelerate to Mach 5. Denise Chow /, NBC News, "Boeing's planned hypersonic airliner could fly from NYC to London in two hours," 28 June 2018 The one great source of turbulence during Mr. Daniels’s tenure may prove his most successful innovation. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "College Bloat Meets ‘The Blade’," 14 Dec. 2018 Even those pro-Brexit proponents who are more sanguine than Hammond about the prospect of no deal think the British economy will encounter at least short-term turbulence. Pan Pylas, The Seattle Times, "UK faces prospect of recession and downgrade, S&P warns," 30 Oct. 2018 Being less reliant on consumer demand helped shield Microsoft from holiday season turbulence and U.S.-China trade war jitters affecting Apple and other tech companies. Matt O'brien, The Seattle Times, "Apple’s stock sours, Microsoft’s soars. Say what?!," 27 Nov. 2018 However, Portnow's replacement will also come into an organization that following recent incidents faces considerable turbulence. Melinda Newman, Billboard, "Who Should Take Over The Recording Academy? Industry Weighs In," 29 June 2018 The broader volatility stands in contrast to last month, when even as the S&P 500 had its worst October since 2011, alarm over future turbulence was largely confined to equities. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, "Swings in Energy Prices Could Herald Broader Volatility," 16 Nov. 2018

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

5 Jan 2019

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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 \

Kids Definition of turbulence

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on turbulence

Spanish Central: Translation of turbulence

Nglish: Translation of turbulence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of turbulence for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about turbulence

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