tur·​bu·​lent | \ ˈtər-byə-lənt How to pronounce turbulent (audio) \

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 Sweetbitter, which traced the turbulent coming of age of a back waiter in New York City, received glowing reviews, was adapted for television and changed Danler’s life. Annabel Gutterman, Time, "The Author of Sweetbitter Returns With a Gritty Memoir of Self-Destruction," 20 May 2020 To build the Warriors Community Foundation into one of the premier charity foundations in sports, Lacob has leaned on the experiences that helped her survive a turbulent childhood. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Nicole Lacob leads Warriors’ charitable wing as a reminder of her childhood," 18 May 2020 In this turbulent moment, the paotong tree is a timely reminder that globalisation, China-style, does not always involve globe-spanning supply chains of the sort now causing so much political angst. The Economist, "Chaguan A small town in China makes half of Japan’s coffins," 14 May 2020 Those floating airborne droplets — some shielded by turbulent gas clouds — can stay suspended long enough for someone to walk through and inhale the virus. USA Today, "Coronavirus might spread much farther than 6 feet in the air. CDC says wear a mask in public.," 3 Apr. 2020 New York's Coney Island is famous for Nathan's Hot Dogs and Stephon Marbury, a kid from the housing projects who went onto a turbulent career in the NBA, before ultimate redemption and fame from millions of basketball-crazy fans in China. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, "NBA Star Stephon Marbury Talks China "Rebirth" in New Documentary (Q&A)," 5 Mar. 2020 These are designed to evacuate turbulent air near the wheel and channel it down the side of the vehicle to the large rear diffuser. Maxwell B. Mortimer, Car and Driver, "1500-HP Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport Is a $3.6 Million Apex Hunter," 3 Mar. 2020 After a turbulent few days, there were signs that diplomats were making progress. Sybilla Gross, Bloomberg.com, "Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day," 8 May 2020 In one bright spot for investors, oil prices on futures markets rose, offering hope that a particularly turbulent market may be stabilizing. New York Times, "Stock Markets in Asia Fall as Investors Await Payroll Data: Live Updates," 7 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for turbulent

Time Traveler

The first known use of turbulent was in 1538

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Statistics for turbulent

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Turbulent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turbulent. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for turbulent


How to pronounce turbulent (audio)

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 How to pronounce turbulent (audio) \

Kids Definition of turbulent

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

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