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

Hopefully, for Geppert, the next game won't have personal roots that are as turbulent as Sea of Solitude's. Patrick Shanley, The Hollywood Reporter, "How a Turbulent Relationship and Professional Ennui Inspired Indie Game 'Sea of Solitude'," 16 July 2019 In 1291, the city of Acre finally fell, ending the brief, turbulent history of Crusader states in the Near East. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Fear of Foreign Food May Have Led to the Death of This Crusader King," 26 June 2019 While her career–30 years of being a war reporter at a time when female correspondents were rare–was exceptional, her private life was turbulent and painful. Janine Di Giovanni, Town & Country, "Hollywood Chameleon Rosamund Pike Tackles the Life Story of War Correspondent Marie Colvin," 15 Nov. 2018 That chapter in Greece’s turbulent modern history is coming back to haunt the country’s government. Nektaria Stamouli, WSJ, "Anger Over Old Terrorists Upsets New Friendship Between Greece, U.S.," 6 Nov. 2018 Eventually, more spots develop, enlarge, and ultimately merge, until the entire flow is turbulent. Lee Phillips, Ars Technica, "Turbulence, the oldest unsolved problem in physics," 10 Oct. 2018 There have been other recent efforts to recognize the turbulent history of African Americans, particularly in the South. Deborah Barfield Berry, USA TODAY, "Lawmakers push to make civil rights landmarks national monuments," 10 May 2018 While La Blaugrana have had a turbulent recent history with academy prospects, having seen the likes of Adama Traore, Alex Grimaldo and Gerard Gumbau all choose to hone their trade elsewhere. SI.com, "Arsenal Steam Ahead of Man City in Pursuit of Barcelona's Teenage Prodigy Robert Navarro," 14 Apr. 2018 After a turbulent year, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and Jen Harley appear to be in a better place. Aurelie Corinthios, PEOPLE.com, "Jersey Shore Star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro's On-Off Girlfriend Jen Harley Calls Him the 'Best Father'," 17 June 2019

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

21 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for turbulent

The first known use of turbulent was in 1538

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More Definitions for turbulent



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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