tur·bu·lent | \ ˈtər-byə-lənt \

Definition of turbulent 

1a : exhibiting physical turbulence turbulent air

b : characterized by agitation or tumult : tempestuous a turbulent marriage

2 : causing unrest, violence, or disturbance a set of mischievous, turbulent rebels —Anne Brönte

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Other words from turbulent

turbulently adverb

Did You Know?

Some people lead turbulent lives, and some are constantly in the grip of turbulent emotions. The late 1960s are remembered as turbulent years of social revolution in America and Europe. Often the captain of an airplane will warn passengers to fasten their seatbelts because of upper-air turbulence, which can make for a bumpy ride. El Niño, a seasonal current of warm water in the Pacific Ocean, may create turbulence in the winds across the United States, affecting patterns of rainfall and temperature as well.

Examples of turbulent in a Sentence

Turbulent waters caused the boat to capsize. The sixties were a turbulent period in American history.

Recent Examples on the Web

Hook’s comments follow a turbulent week in the oil market that started last Tuesday when a State Department official called on buyers to stop importing Iranian crude by Nov. 4. John Hudson, Washington Post, "Despite impact on prices, U.S. will aim to bring Iran’s oil revenue to zero," 2 July 2018 Yields rose with global stocks on Friday after a turbulent week, reducing demand for safer assets like Treasury bonds, which have swung on news from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, "U.S. Government Bonds Notch Second Week Gains," 22 June 2018 After a turbulent week that culminated in confirmation that her father, Thomas Markle Sr., would not be able to attend the wedding, Markle will be staying at Cliveden House Hotel with her mother, Doria Ragland. Laura Smith-spark, CNN, "Royal wedding: Princes Harry and William greet fans on eve of ceremony," 18 May 2018 These rumours come after a turbulent week for Sanches, who was criticised heavily by Swansea's soon to be leaving manager Carlos Carvahal after a Twitter controversy involving the midfielder caused significant backlash amongst Swansea supporters. SI.com, "Swansea Reject Linked With Surprise Return to the Premier League Next Season With Wolves," 13 May 2018 McMaster is the sixth close adviser or aide to announce a departure in a turbulent six weeks, joining ally Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was unceremoniously fired last week. The Christian Science Monitor, "Bolton set to replace McMaster as Trump's national security adviser," 23 Mar. 2018 McMaster is the sixth close adviser or aide to announce a departure in a turbulent six weeks, joining ally Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was unceremoniously fired last week. Time, "H.R. McMaster Resigns. John Bolton Named Trump's New National Security Advisor," 22 Mar. 2018 By Suzy Khimm Amid a turbulent week for Democrats, comes new polling data suggesting that even more voters are pulling away from their party. Newsweek, "Analysis," 14 Mar. 2018 The cause of one of the most turbulent weeks in recent memory, market participants in the United States said, appeared to be widespread expectations that the global economy is improving and that growth would accelerate in the near future. Author: Emily Flitter, Alexandra Stevenson, Anchorage Daily News, "Tumultuous week on Wall Street ends with a rally," 9 Feb. 2018

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

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for turbulent

Latin turbulentus, from turba confusion, crowd — more at turbid

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Statistics for turbulent

Last Updated

4 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for turbulent

The first known use of turbulent was in 1538

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English Language Learners Definition of turbulent

: moving in an irregular or violent way

: full of confusion, violence, or disorder : not stable or steady


tur·bu·lent | \ ˈtər-byə-lənt \

Kids Definition of turbulent

: causing or being in a state of unrest, violence, or disturbance turbulent protests turbulent weather

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Comments on turbulent

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