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 meeting, which brought together world leaders for the first time in person since the departure of President Donald J. Trump, did achieve a striking change in tone after four years of turbulence. Mark Landler, New York Times, 14 June 2021 The Murdochs renewed Suzanne Scott's contract despite all of the turbulence. Brian Stelter, CNN, 8 June 2021 Recent volatility readings don’t show much sign of turbulence anytime soon. Jj Kinahan, Forbes, 8 June 2021 After several years of political turbulence, Leon Valley voters face another key decision about City Council leadership in the May 1 election. San Antonio Express-News, 23 Apr. 2021 Charles Brown, Karon’s father, said the girl was a stabilizing force for his son after a period of turbulence. Justin Jouvenal, Washington Post, 23 Apr. 2021 It could be argued, of course, that the collapse already occurred last year, when New England suffered its first losing season in two decades as the team encountered plenty of turbulence in the quarterback transition from Tom Brady to Cam Newton. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, 13 Apr. 2021 Perhaps no company experienced the turbulence of driverless car development more fitfully than Uber. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 25 May 2021 The turbulence of the company’s early days helped create a culture that was well-suited to weather the challenges of the past year, said Ryan Moore, a Boston venture capitalist who was an early DraftKings investor and still sits on its board. BostonGlobe.com, 11 Apr. 2021

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

18 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Turbulence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turbulence. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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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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