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

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 Focusing on work during such a turbulent time can be tough for a sign rooted in justice. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, 11 July 2022 Last season, amid a turbulent time at United, with so much imploding around him, Ronaldo, at the age of 37, was once again the club’s best player. Sam Pilger, Forbes, 15 June 2022 His story about his own struggles with faith helped me through a particularly turbulent time. New York Times, 14 June 2022 Jackman, who’s already won two Tonys, has made a welcome return to Broadway as con man Harold Hill, and voters could choose to reward him for his devotion to the industry during a turbulent time. Christopher Wallenberg, BostonGlobe.com, 9 June 2022 The 2021-22 Chicago Blackhawks season probably has faded from fans’ memories already — because who really wants to remember anything that transpired on — or off — the ice during that turbulent time? Phil Thompson, Chicago Tribune, 15 May 2022 Newsom won office in 2018 campaigning on progressive causes such as universal healthcare and casting himself as the antithesis of then-President Trump at a turbulent political time in the country. Taryn Lunastaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2022 The move signals the end of Cano's turbulent time with the Mets. Andrew Tredinnick, USA TODAY, 2 May 2022 During that turbulent time, when stay-home orders were in place and the economy was restricted, Adam Fox, Brandon Caserta, Barry Croft Jr. and Daniel Harris were coming up with a plot to snatch Whitmer, prosecutors say. CBS News, 8 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About turbulent

Time Traveler for turbulent

Time Traveler

The first known use of turbulent was in 1538

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near turbulent



turbulent flow

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for turbulent

Last Updated

25 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Turbulent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turbulent. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for turbulent


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

More from Merriam-Webster on turbulent

Nglish: Translation of turbulent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of turbulent for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!